*Currently on show at House of Hackney’s London flagship store. Please contact us for details of how to view and purchase.
This complex painting explores themes of self: in the iconography of the Spooniverse, the head in profile represents the artist, often striped or textured. Here the head appears over and over again; the horizontal orange form to the right, the downcast yellow form to the bottom left, the two forms mirroring each other in the centre of the canvas. The canvas is also peopled by other heads which could be variations of the artist, or separate people in their own right: a figure with a hat which could be for a party or a dunce’s cap, a grinning masked face, a patterned face with the word OPEN written across the forehead, an unsettling figure with a scribbled-out face in black and white, the colours of Ken’s magical ceramic objects, and many more.
Here we can guess at the meaning of the painting: it is a representation of the fractured nature of personal identity: the multitudes that are contained within a single personality. Where do ‘we’ stop, and those who we love begin? Do we carry around with in our heads echoes of those have influenced and affected us, their competing voices clamouring as we try to decide our own fate? Is there such a thing as a contained, singular self?
The skull on the right of the painting also hints that these faces are not just the past but also the future. Like a mysterious memento mori, the skull floats in a less crowded area of the canvas, as though the other faces are trying to edge away from it. Its calm stare reminds us that the knowledge of certain death is ever-present in the human mind, an unavoidable fixed point amidst the chaotic energy of life.
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