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Sin Eater

All photos this page by Studio Wolkowicz, courtesy the Bluecoat, Liverpool

Sin Eater
2008, Approximately 6.5 x 5m
Cord, plastic beads, glue gun, gaffer tape  
Coats of Arms 

Commissioned by the Bluecoat, 2008

"The Bluecoat in Liverpool, one of Britain’s oldest art spaces, was erected as a school for poor children in 1717, and is the most historic building to survive in Liverpool’s city centre....

" Hew Locke lives up to his reputation for over-the-top visual extravagance by concocting an immense, heady wall-work with black cord and plastic beads. Cascading down the white surface, his uninhibited allegory centres on Neptune, the sea-god who dominates Liverpool’s coat of arms, standing on the backs of two liver birds as he urinates onto the devil’s head. This is only the beginning of the fantastical goings-on enlivening Locke’s heraldic show-stopper, which threatens to overwhelm us with an embarrassment of inventiveness.

"At the apex, presiding over the mayhem below, floats a cadaverous bust of Sir Foster Cunliffe whose grandfather, three times Mayor of Liverpool and sponsor of the Bluecoat school, amassed a fortune derived from the slave trade..."  - Richard Cork (extract) © Financial Times 31/3/2008

Locke takes inspiration from old, faded tapestries, banners and flags. Though threadbare and worn, they retain their power. Locke's pieces are made from cord and plastic beads glued and stapled directly onto the wall. The images are frayed and broken as if through age, patched up with tape.  The beads hang down loosely and threads of glue cobweb the surface.

Click here to hear Hew Locke talk about Sin Eater (6 min 45 secs).

detail of Sin Eater

All images © Hew Locke & ArtImage unless otherwise indicated