Facebook Twitter Google News Person TripAdvisor

The Museum is currently closed to visitors in compliance with UK Government restrictions.
This notice will be updated once we know when we can re-open.
In the meantime, check out our social media platforms:

Twitter | Instagram | Facebook

Our Blog
All blog posts

In the Frame for September 2011: R. Kimberley’s ‘The Strangler’

With a degree of trepidation, the Archivist has chosen R. Kimberley’s The Strangler (1944) to feature as this month’s In the Frame picture. He writes:

Let me be clear from the outset: this is very far from being my favourite painting. Its casual association of sexual objectification and lethal violence renders it disturbing, and its pop-art accessibility renders it actually horrifying. The more mundane elements of the picture (the book, the envelope, the tranquil cottage setting) are unexplained, and do nothing to dilute its horror – if anything, they intensify it.

Yet, in presenting a truth about contemporary culture which we would rather not talk about, perhaps the painting is doing us a service, even as we recoil from its voyeuristic invitation. The (presumably male – yet, in the absence of definite information, on what basis do we presume?) artist wrote that it had been painted ‘in a fit of severe depression’ and reflects ‘a disregard for the feminine sex’, a ‘distaste for authority and power over my actions and emotions’, a ‘dislike of being told what to do’ and a ‘desire for latitude’.

If the work is a vision of what lies beneath the veneer of civilization, it is a profoundly frightening – and depressing – one, and calls our attention to what should have been obvious all along: that misogyny (loathing of women) always proceeds from, and collapses back into, misanthropy (loathing of humankind).