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All images © Hew Locke & ArtImage unless otherwise indicated

detail of The Kingdom of the Blind

All photos this page Thierry Bal, courtesy inIVA 2008

The Kingdom of the Blind
2008  Eleven figures ranging in height from 402 cm to 213 cm
Plastic, screws, glue gun, fabric, vinyl, plywood 
Royalty    Soldiers 

Commission for inIVA

Locke has adopted, questioned and subverted the visual display of those in power and those who aspire to power; from paintings of the Virgin Queen, to the Sun King's public dressings at Versailles, to the gold-plated Uzis of Saddam Hussein. The Kingdom of the Blind is an installation of wall reliefs showing the possessions of an imaginary ruler. Thirteen figures re-enact the moment of his rise to power in battle and act as elaborate votive objects. He draws on the iconography of battles such as seen in the Bayeux Tapestry and the British Museum's Assyrian Lion Hunts, using fake leather handbags, plastic animals, doll parts, flowers, chains and toy weapons.

"It’s a technical feat, as likely to amaze five-year-olds as absorb over-intellectualised art lovers. Only the dourest of minimalists will moan about Locke’s excess of decoration, and their complaints would be almost unfounded. Through his combination of materials, Locke shows the inter-relatedness of the kitsch of everyday British culture and African wars, tribal legend and empire, in a mythological world as exotic as the island of Shakespeare’s Tempest".  

Click here to read Kingdom of the Blind review, Ben Lewis, The Evening Standard


detail of The Kingdom of the Blind