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Humanity Asleep was made for Schnabel’s exhibition at the Tate in 1983 and drew inspiration from William Blake. It features two heads (a portrait of Clemente and a self-portrait) adrift on a raft but presided over by an archangel. The pieces of broken household crockery attached to the painting surface are typical of the material density of Schnabel’s work in the early 1980s. Such combinations of painting and relief, image and fragmentation, conveyed the complexity of contemporary means of expression.

November 2008