The Kingdom Spear (2004)
Edition of 80
Hand coloured hard ground etching on grey arches paper. Produced by Thumbprint Press, London.
76 x 57 cm (30 x 22 in)
Signed, numbered and dated by the artist.
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David Thorpe's exhibition at the Tate - 'The Colonists' - depicts a curious constructed world. Fortified buildings, ethereal forests, ethnographic objects, and hybrid architectural/botanical specimens appear to be the artefacts of a lost cult. A triangular wood and glass lean-to construction at the centre of the show contains primitive stick-and-groove technology used to make fire. Its angular, mirrored shards dress it alternatively as a spacecraft. Surfaces of made up of dense collaged layers of paper, dried vegetation, slate, costume jewellery, bits of net curtains and opaque glass. There is a fragility there too. Thorpe has said about the work "Most of it is held together by glue, string and goodwill. It's a community on the rocks. They are just holding on."
David Thorpe's work is concerned with the relationship between objects and their makers, with a particular interest in the role of craft and labour in handmade design and art. He makes collaged paintings, paper-cut outs, sculpture and watercolours which reflect his fascination in utopian and obscure faith communities. His respect for the Arts and Crafts movement emerges in his meticulous craftsmanship as well as his search for harmonious formal principles. "I'm playing with certain associations," he has said, "slightly New Age, slightly Space Age, slightly threatening - I'm absolutely in love with people who build up their own systems of belief."