london

Hew Locke

Hales Gallery | London

There have been more than a few processions in art in the past decade or so; actual performances aside, one recalls the cinematic one in William Kentridge’s animated Shadow Procession, 1999, for instance, as well as the motionless sequence of rhesus monkeys in Chris Ofili’s suite of paintings The Upper Room, 2002. Like those parades carved in marble on Roman pediments or represented in mosaics on the walls of Byzantine churches, such works depict triumphs of one sort or another—but contemporary triumphal processions tend to be heavily ironic. Kentridge’s film, as critic George Baker has noted, shifts uneasily between a sense of celebration and an evocation of “the misery of forced immigration, the relentless entropy that accompanies the conditions of displacement and exile.” Ofili’s paintings, substituting primates for the twelve apostles, mock their own color-besotted ceremoniousness.

Hew

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