Etching, 'The Green Lounge', number 11 of 24 in Hotel Kennedy suite of etchings, paper, made and designed by George Gittoes, initial design drawings made in New York, United States of America, 1968-1971, etchings made Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, 1971
The Yellow House, was one of Australia's most colourful contributions to the hippy / psychedelic era of the late 1960s and early 1970s. It opened to the public on April's Fools Day 1970.
The Powerhouse Museum holds a reconstructed Yellow House puppet theatre, along with an original puppet storage chest, photographs, artworks and other material relating to the puppet theatre created for the Yellow House between 1969-1970. Together, these puppets and artworks were used and seen on a daily basis in the Yellow House Puppet Theatre, Stone Room and other areas of this artist residence, gallery and live performance space during it's heyday from 1970 through to 1971. The Magritte-inspired surrealist ceramics were used as props while the artworks hung on the outer walls of the Theatre.
The puppet plays were written and/or presented by George Gittoes. They include both ancient works based on classical Greek and Persian mythology and contemporary plays (eg Eugène Ionesco), and a suite of puppet plays on the story of the wives of great artists eg Mondrian's [wife], Picasso's wife Olga Khokhlova with son Paolo, and Albert Tucker's wife Joy Hester, who like Gittoes' girlfriend had tragically committed suicide.
Importantly, the puppet plays reflect Gittoes emerging interest in tragedy and conflict and his deep rooted interest in Greek and Persian mythology. Today George Gittoes is a leading and international award winning Australian documentary filmmaker.
Anne-Marie Van de Ven, Curator 2008
A leaflet was printed as a catalogue to accompany the etchings when they were exhibted at the Josef Lebovic Gallery in 1990. In this leaflet George Gittoes writes:
'On 17th May 1970, with my novel finished, I decided to begin compiling 'A Book of Demons and Supernatural Phenomenon'. While writing the novel I had systematically broken down the barriers between the real world and the mystical-other world of dreams and hallucinations. So this new book became a diary of events outside of the normal world. "The Green Lounge" brings together various experiences from this period and incorporates them with the image of the insect which arrived later in 1971.
The following is one of the extracts which influenced the etching:....
"A man appeared lying horizontally and as he stood I realised that he was comprised of separate coreleum blue, cylindrical, shafts of light"
The disembodied head which apprears to be eating the liver of the reclining figure is the image which first appeared in the Central Y in San Francisco....It has now become a symbol for something indescriable - I panicked with it, as a person would if a large spider had gotten inside their clothes"