iPlayer Radio What's New?
Image for On the Trail of the Snail

Sorry, this episode is not currently available on BBC iPlayer Radio

On the Trail of the Snail

30 minutes
First broadcast:
Saturday 11 December 2010

Five celebrated radio producers from around the world contribute their personal responses in sound to Henri Matisse's The Snail, the iconic paper cut-out collage that hangs in Tate Modern, London.

This collaborative edition of Between the Ears explores radio's capacity for re-presenting art. It evokes through sound the primary colours, elemental spiralling shape and gastropodic allusions of an image that's at once playful and melancholy. Late in his life, ill-health forced Matisse to work with a new technique, directing assistants to arrange coloured paper cut-outs on his studio wall - The Snail of 1953 is the most celebrated example of this period.

The "On the Trail of the Snail" audio collage consists of:

Chris Brookes (Canada) - "?The Snail Trail in the White House" (with reference to The Orlons 1962 hit The Wah-Watusi and Alma Thomas' homage to Matisse, Watusi)

Dinah Bird (France) - "Helix" ("The spiral is a spiritual circle. In the spiral form, the circle, uncoiled, unwound, has ceased to be vicious; it has been set free." Vladimir Nabokov)

Sherre DeLys (Australia) - 'Chromatic Composition'. (Sherre and sculptor Joan Grounds reflect on Matisse's use of colour as they walk through a north American woodland.)

Pejk Malinovski (USA) - "A Snail is a Snail is a Snail is an Artist", featuring the voices of Gertrude Stein and biologist Ronald Chase.

Kari Hesthamar (Norway) - "Tramp" ("The first step in any trip or journey is always a footstep - the brave or curious act of putting one foot in front of the other." The Norwegian author Tomas Espedal walks - to collect stories and to survive.)

Curated by London-based producer Alan Hall.


Free download

  1. Image for Between The Ears: Adventures in  Radio

    Between The Ears: Adventures in Radio

    Innovative and thought-provoking features, that make adventurous use of sound, explore a wide …

BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.