The poem ‘Night Piece’ is based on a dream that James Joyce had in Paris at the Notre Dame Cathedral and was written in Trieste during the First World War. The work refers to heavenly beauty and at the same time an abandoned hell. The bright silver sea of Trieste, which can also be a battlefield, with a panoramic view of the deep moonless night. Stars as souls, but also as empty holes. I wanted to capture in drawing and light the double feeling of the spacious flux, a movement in which humankind seems impotent.

Missing Pieces is part of the James Joyce' 'Pomes Penyeach Project'

Machteld Aardse, Missing Pieces (Night Piece), charcoal, pastel, plastic, paper (hand-made for Karel Appel), 4m x 2m
in private art collection

Machteld Aardse, Missing Pieces (Night Piece), Sketch 1

paper, charcoal, pastel, wood, plastic, led-light, battery, 50,5 cm x 32,5 cm

Curator: Facetten van de Kunst, Julia Barnes, Julia Henneman, Manja Markies, Nanny Roed

Translation poetry: Erik Bindervoet, Robbert-Jan Henkes

Performers: Matthijs Mesdag (bariton & performer),

Yung-Tuan Ku & Che-Sheng Wu (percussion), Han Buhrs (vocals), Julia Hunneman (performer), Lis Perry (violin),

Emi Ohi Rsnick (violin), Julia Barnes (viola), Mariette Gort (cello)

Artists: Aafke Steenhuis, Stijn Seip, Salome Roodenburg,

Tonie van Marle, Manja Markies, Mechteld Timp, Julia Henneman, Marjoke de Heer, Shira Wolfe, Linda Willemszoon,

Machteld Aardse, Hannah Zwennes, Christiaan Keulemans,

Soek Zwamborn, Theo de Bruijn, Sara Maernhoudt,

Milou Parthesius


Joyce Festival, Oosterkerk, Amsterdam, NL, 18 Oct 2018

Museum Het Weefhuis, Zaandijk, NL, 11&12 Nov 2017


James Joyce, Pomes Penyeach Project, Erik Bindervoet, Robbert-Jan Henkes, 2017


Machteld Aardse, Missing Pieces (Night Piece), Sketch 2

paper, charcoal, pastel, wood, plastic, led-light, battery, 50,5 cm x 32,5 cm

James Joyce Pomes Penyeach was set into music and translated into Dutch in an accurate musical way. Several artists were invited to make artwork for each poem. James Joyce' Night Piece was a perfect fit for me. The whole was to be seen in museum Het Weefhuis in Zaandijk the Netherlands. Now the Pomes Penyeach Project will go on the road.


Initiator Julia Barnes: "The Joyce Book contained settings of Joyce’s Pomes Penyeach by various contemporary composers. The first performance took place at the London Contemporary Music Centre on 16 March 1932. Joyce was unable to attend as he had already promised to attend a lunch in his honour at the American Club in Paris on St Patrick’s Day, 17 March.


The idea for the Joyce Book originated with Herbert Hughes, Eugene Goossens, and Arthur Bliss. They attended a concert of contemporary music with Joyce at the Palais Royal on 28 October 1929 and during the evening came up with the idea of setting some of his poems to music. Eventually, the idea expanded to cover all thirteen poems in Pomes Penyeach, each with a different composer, as follows: ‘Tilly’ by EJ Moeran – ‘Watching the Needleboats at San Sabba’ by Arnold Bax – ‘A Flower given to my Daughter’ by Albert Roussel – ‘She weeps over Rahoon’ by Herbert Hughes – ‘Tutto è Sciolto’ by John Ireland – ‘On the Beach at Fontana’ by Roger Sessions – ‘Simples’ by Arthur Bliss – ‘Flood’ by Herbert Howells – ‘Nightpiece’ by George Antheil – ‘Alone’ by Edgardo Carducci – ‘A Memory of the Players in a Mirror at Midnight’ by Eugene Goossens – ‘Bahnhofstrasse’ by CW Orr – ‘A Prayer’ by Bernard Van Dieren.


mentioned in het Weefhuis 11 Nov / 12 Nov 2017, during the very lively discussion about translating Joyce by Erik Bindervoet and Robbert-Jan Henkes. "