Hew Locke

Hew Locke

Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts)

August 29, 2008

Hew Locke 
The Kingdom of the Blind

Curated by: Sebastian Lopez
3 September – 20 October 2008

Rivington Place EC2A 3BA
London, UK


A major new installation at Rivington Place
3 September – 20 October 2008

For the past ten years, Hew Locke’s work has explored the visual display of those in power and those who aspire to power. His immense and complex architectural installations and more recently, his monumental wall drawings and figurative sculptures made from the mundane, bright and sparkling ephemera of street markets and pound shops, have adopted, questioned and subverted the iconographies and language of royalty and government in relation to notions of power and cultural identity.

In this major new installation for Iniva at Rivington Place, Locke brings together these prevalent formal and thematic elements of his practice to create his first ever ‘museum display’ – a fictional collection of the possessions of an imaginary ruler. The installation combines a carnivalesque frieze of monumental figures (reaching up to 14 ft tall) with an elaborate backdrop of wall drawings. Depicting this fictional leader’s rise to power, Locke’s figures, enacting victorious moments in battle, act as elaborate votive objects – composed of intricate combinations of fake leather handbags, miniature plastic animals, doll parts, sequins, chains and fake weaponry.

This chaotic and flamboyant commemoration of individual power becomes a poignant parody of today’s social and political global climate. Presented through the formal language of traditional museum display, Locke’s allusions to the language of contemporary dictatorships and war assume a powerful commentary on our national cultural institutions and their relationship to the modern constructs of history and society, cultural identity and national pride.

Locke’s personal history – he spent the first seven years of his life in Edinburgh before moving to the newly independent Guyana and later returning to London in the 1980s – feeds into his ongoing interest in the links between personal and national identity. This piece also draws on the iconography of great historic battles, such as the Battle of San Romano, the Bayeux Tapestry and the British Museum’s Assyrian Lion Hunt reliefs.

Locke comments on his practice:
“At its heart, my work is both political and highly personal, often taking me on strange dreamlike journeys where the past and the present merge and then separate.”

Locke has exhibited extensively within the UK, including Tate Britain as part of BAS6, V&A Museum, The New Art Gallery Walsall, The Bluecoat Gallery and the British Museum. Locke has recently been commissioned to make a permanent installation for the New Art Exchange, Nottingham. In the US he has exhibited at the Luckman Gallery LA, Atlanta Contemporary Arts and at the Brooklyn Museum. Also in Autumn 2008, Locke will present work in the group exhibition ‘Second Life’ at the Museum of Art and Design, New York.

Public Programme
The public programme will include talks, films selected by Hew Locke and a panel discussion.

Every Saturday from 13 September to 18 October, 3pm
A gallery tour for all ages of The Kingdom of the Blind.

Thursday 18 September, 7–8pm
Curator Sebastian Lopez discusses The Kingdom of the Blind in the gallery.

Thursday 2 October, 7–8pm
Artist Hew Locke talks about his practice and new work.

Check www.iniva.org for further events accompanying The Kingdom of the Blind.

Exhibition Listings Information

Exhibition: Hew Locke – The Kingdom of the Blind
Dates: 3 September – 20 October 2008
Venue: Rivington Place, London, EC2A 3BA
Public opening hours: Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday: 11am – 6pm
Late Thursdays: 11am – 9pm (Last admission 8.30pm) Saturday: 12noon – 6pm
Sunday, Monday: Closed (with the exception of Sunday 27 July, 12noon – 6pm)
Admission: Free
Nearest tubes: Old Street & Liverpool Street
Rivington Place is fully accessible in all public areas
For parking & wheelchair facilities or further information about Rivington Place +44 (0)20 7749 1240, info@rivingtonplace.org, www.rivingtonplace.org/

inIVA (Institute of International Visual Arts)

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Iniva (Institute of International Visual Arts)
August 29, 2008

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