Readings From The Barometer Of Life - OVERVIEW


This octet of works comprise a series of constructivist portraits, each defined by decaying, camouflaged data.

The fundamental theme woven throughout is the 'war against nature'; the climate crisis and our endangered ecosystems.

Although each, singly features a unique, threatened species, the collective yarns hang as 'gathered' drapery; an encrypted tapestry; a suspended entropy. They illustrate a shared, and tragic narrative - where a quarter of all species on Earth are threatened with extinction. 

A simple, classification code labels each piece. 

e.T17975A123809220
[Orangutan]

e.T7140A12828813
[Asian Elephant]

e.T8005A12881238
[Hawksbill Turtle]

e.T15955A50659951
[Tiger]

e.T39994A115576640
[Eastern Gorilla]

e.T2477A156923585
[Blue Whale]

e.T22823A9390963
[Polar Bear]

e.T19495A8925965
[Javan Rhinoceros]
These are directly extracted from the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species, then converted into an equilateral data matrix code; the resulting grid-like graphic merged and interwoven within a vertical, textile patchwork; across which a variety of applications build the definitive picture.
Referencing the solvent transfer technique pioneered by American artist Robert Rauschenberg's (specifically his Hoarfrost series (1974-75)), Readings from the Barometer of Life juxtaposes found printed matter with cotton fabrics, paint, plastic, ink, and paper. In addition, the legacy of human waste materials (mankind has manufactured sufficient plastic to wrap the entire Earth) in the form of abandoned ghost netting, fishing lines and a variety of preformed packaging materials, is directly stitched-into each piece. Consequently, by adapting the ancient Japanese discipline of Boro (the practice of reworking and repairing textiles), and its associated belief in Mottainai (a sense of regret over waste), the works that constitute Readings from the Barometer of Life unfold both as a lament, and portentous epigraph, where commodity, disposable asset and debris juxtapose to forge a moving monograph for the Sixth Mass Extinction.
“We are the first generation to know we are destroying our planet and the last one that can do anything about it.”
Tanya Steele, Chief Executive WWF

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

When The Fox met The Rooster - The Movie

When The Fox met The Rooster
Running time: 22:35
First shown Thursday 16th November 2017
British Embassy Residence, 16 Boulevard F. D. Roosevelt, Luxembourg
"Through montaging a moving picture account of When the Fox Met the Rooster, my intention was to provide an insight and narrative into the project’s evolution, and deployment. During its run time, the viewer’s journey begins with the raw, vintage paper material which underlay each finished artwork - the artist is seen flicking through pages, then overpainting L’AUTO - the very newspaper which Tour de France godfather Henri Desgrange wished to promote through this new cycle race. As the opening sequence builds over erstwhile audio of Tour de France race commentary, I wanted the viewer to get a sense of adventure, and spectacle. I really value film as an artistic medium. And feel the process of collage can equally apply to sound and vision. In this way, my movie allows access to my working method - both on canvas and on the street. It exposes the uniqueness of the project - it being a rare fusion of time and place. And, I hope, bring light to the intense, and intimate relationship that an artist experiences when creating a special body of work."
IN December 2016, HM Ambassador to the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, John Marshall commissioned the British artist James Straffon to explore the concept of an art exhibition, expanding on Straffon’s previous collections devoted to the Tour de France and its vibrant history.  This new series was presented in 2017 - with an exhibition of large-scale original canvases, and a display of over 40 street artworks located across Luxembourg’s capital and communes, many following the race route. By adapting a 19th century fable by Michel Rodange - Renert [Renert oder de Fuuß am Frack an a Ma’nsgrëßt] - Straffon created a new narrative for this extraordinary race - telling the story of the Tour through the eyes of an intrepid fox. He chose to re-engage Renert in a curious and enlightening act of wanderlust - unearthing the bizarre and remarkable stories wrapped up in the folklore and mythology of the Tour de France, retold through the fox’s chance meetings with its many colourful contenders.

The When The Fox met The Rooster project, with its various associated components,
is indebted to the following sponsorship and support:


LINKLATERS - MR. GREN CARR JONES - MR. PETER GOES
HM Ambassador John Marshall and the staff at the British Embassy
Ms Claire Jordan
Ville de Luxembourg
Luxembourg Ministry of the Economy
Luxembourg Ministry of Foreign Affairs
Luxembourg Ministry of Sport
Luxembourg Ministry of Tourism
GreatArt, Alton, Hampshire, UK
Barry Hoban
Basic & Bespoke, Luxembourg
Honey / Mustard, Luxembourg
Bar Rocas, Luxembourg



All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

On show. Inside the British Embassy Residence, Luxembourg

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon


Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

Original Tour de France artworks on show at The British Embassy Luxembourg by artist James Straffon

BRITISH EMBASSY RESIDENCE, BLVD. F. D. ROOSEVELT LUXEMBOURG.

All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.

On show. Street artworks throughout Luxembourg.

MAURICE GARIN. TROISVIERGES.

MAURICE GARIN. BASICS & BESPOKE. 2 RUE DU MARCHE-AUX-HERBES, LUXEMBOURG.



FRANCOIS FABER. WILTZ



JACQUES ANQUETIL. GROUSSBUS.


EDDY MERCKX. MONDERCANGE.

CHARLY GAUL. LUXEMBOURG.

ANDY SCHLECK. LUXEMBOURG.

TOM SIMPSON. PAUL SMITH, LUXEMBOURG.

MARCO PANTANI. LUXEMBOURG.


GINO BARTALI. RIVE DE CLAUSEN.


FRANCOIS FABER. PLACE GUILLAUME II, LUXEMBOURG.

FRANCOIS FABER & MARK CAVENDISH. BRITISH EMBASSY RESIDENCE, LUXEMBOURG.


NICOLAS FRANTZ. RIVE DE CLAUSEN.




VARIOUS. PLACE GUILLAUME II.




ANDY SCHLECK. ITZIG, LUXEMBOURG.





FREDERICO BAHAMONTES. BAR ROCAS, LUXEMBOURG.



All artwork, text and images © James Straffon 2020.