Still life (2023) is Adam Moore’s public artwork at the end of Eastbourne Pier commissioned by Devonshire Collective in partnership with Eastbourne ALIVE in celebration of the 2023 Turner Prize at Towner Gallery, Eastbourne.

Still life is an intervention on Eastbourne pier combining image and text with the piers’ unique architecture, choreography, and changing ambience. A digital photograph of the horizon, viewed from the platform upon which the work is printed, carries the last two lines of William Ernest Henley’s 1875 poem Invictus.

Henley’s Invictus (Latin for unconquerable) has rippled across the 20th and 21st century quoted by political figures from Winston Churchill to Nelson Mandela, cited in literary works by authors CS Lewis and W.E.B. Du Bois, even ringing out in the lyrics of Lana Del Rey and The Weekend’s 2017 single Lust for life.

Following the death of his father this spring, Adam found the last lines of Henley’s poem penned in his father’s diary. In Adam’s handwriting these words dance over a summer morning composition with two slight but intentional edits: the word ‘master’ has been substituted for ‘guardian’, and ‘captain’ has been replaced with ‘safeguard’.

While acknowledging the necessity for perseverance and determination in adversity, what can be interpreted in Henley’s poem as the British ‘stiff upper lip’, this public artwork encourages you to pause and to consider yourself neither a ‘master’ nor a ‘captain’ while facing life’s challenges, but the custodian of your future and the caretaker of your life throughout changing circumstances and seasons.

Adam Moore, Still life. Dedicated in loving memory to Maurice Moore, 1942 – 2023.

Special thanks to

Rosie Ridgway and the team at Devonshire Collective

Tom Pope

Bruce Hamilton and the team at Ricochet

Edward Ball