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Although he trained as a painter, Jarman was best known as a film-maker and a campaigner for gay rights. He was diagnosed HIV positive in 1986, and became an outspoken critic of the homophobia that surrounded the discussion of AIDS. The title of this work, Ataxia, refers to the loss of physical control experienced by the artist when his illness attacked his central nervous system. Its brightly coloured thick surface is the result of the paint having been spread directly with the fingers after the deterioration of Jarman’s eyesight.

November 2006