I’m Hew Locke and I am at Hales Gallery installing for my next solo show called Nameless. So the piece is a collection, it’s almost like a stream of consciousness piece from a collection of images which I’ve been picking up over the past, say, ten, fifteen years or so. And there’s no specific political angle, it’s what’s in my head and once I started working on this thing, after a while I latched on to this John Huston quote and I’m paraphrasing it strongly here, being in a situation where you’re in a corridor and you look back through time almost, through doors, loads of open doors, and you feel the flow of time and you see all these people and basically you realise you’re just part of this nameless procession.
This morning for the first time in years, I was thinking, where did this thing come from, and I sort of remembered it was born out of necessity, this idea, technique, shall we say. I was doing a show in a gallery in Atlanta and I didn’t have enough money to ship over a huge installation so I thought, okay right, I’ve got these walls to fill. The way it works is a simple: I do the drawing, source the material, then the drawing is then printed, scanned and projected onto the wall. It’s drawn onto the wall and then card is glue-gunned on top of the drawing and then bead follows that line in a broken line. So the idea is that it’s a drawing which is on the wall which has been half ripped down, so that’s the idea behind it, something which is a bit broken, really and this was a way of, well let’s get something up there real quick. Let’s see what’s possible.
Initially it was done with Hallowe’en necklaces and that’s what you see, that’s what these pieces are now made with, Hallowe’en necklaces but bought in a row. So the first piece I made, this was in America, I went to all these fancy dress shops and bought every single Hallowe’en necklace they had. The links between this piece and the piece which the Tate have is quite direct. The Tate piece is essentially a mix of, for want of a better word, ethnographic objects, small fragments from ethnographic collections but then blown up into this supersized being. This heraldic coat of arms. One of my obsessions is heraldry, and the Tate piece and this piece come from an investigation years ago I was doing into the ideas of what it is to be British. What it is to hold this passport. Anyway, long story short, I did a lot of work with the heraldic imagery of the coat of arms and realising that theoretically the book doesn’t really belong to me. I sort of am holding it but it’s not really mine. The work tends to be a fusion, a sort of a cultural mishmash, shall we say, and this again is something developed over years, and it comes from on a personal level, from having grown up in Diana which is a sort of mixed multi-cultural society. And what this piece is about as well is about clichés, about lazy clichés and that then en masse has become a kind of a short hand for, well this is African culture and dotted around, and the figure has two Kalashnikovs coming out of it and then the Kalashnikovs are again a lazy shorthand for conflict, whether it be in Africa, South America, basically all over the world. I’m sort of reflecting what is reflected back to me. These things have become kind of clichés and I’m talking about horrific clichés if you know what I mean.