‘Society cares about the individual only insofar as he is profitable. The young know this. Their anxiety as they enter upon social life matches the anguish of the old as they are excluded from it.’
Opening on 27th May, Keith will be part of this group exhibition being developed by curators Bella Kerr & Amanda Roderick for which Artists speculate on the issues of age.
Simone de Beauvoir’s examination of old age, The Coming of Age asks what do the words elderly, old, and aged really mean? How are they used and how is this a reflection of society’s values and priorities?
As the ‘age pyramid’ flips, we face pressing issues of social care, and inequality and age in relation to healthcare, housing and wealth. De Beauvoir’s title allows us to think of youth and old age, of the journey to adulthood, and of cross-generational views.
Some early thoughts and an image of work in progress for this exhibition are below.
The subject of age can be seen from both sides of the spectrum as quite different conditions, but for me the problems are of the same nature. In these pen and ink drawings of figures carrying or lifting one another, I both observe and live the relationship between young and old people; between young arts practitioners and myself, and also even my own boys and me. I still have aspirations, hopes and fears, I still want to do more and achieve, so, I understand those young people with ambitions.. There is little difference between us, just time and experience – we are all souls wanting to “go” somewhere. So the carrying of one character by another is like saying I know where you are going and I can help you get there. The mask – a recurring theme in my work – in this case symbolises the Older character. But it is worn by a young body. A mask of age which hides the young spirit within.Keith Bayliss, 2022