Joyous Underground

David Thorpe

Joyous Underground, 2018

The work of David Thorpe places a strong emphasis on the complexity of its process and the temporality of its production. It is a love affair with labor and craft, distancing itself through an act of adoration, from the alienating characteristics of modernity and the ways of being of the modern man. Inspired in part by the English Arts and Crafts Movement, John Ruskin, and the late socialist writing of William Morris, Thorpe applies an aesthetic of organic ornaments and botanical motifs that act as a veil and as a protective skin to enclose and hide an increasingly vital, yet marginalized, philosophy. Thorpe advocates an opposition towards an economic and a social order connected with the modern and, consequently, the contemporary world we are immersed in today.

The complexity of the organic ornamentation is an intellectual reference and a utopian construct for a self-contained work, the aim of which is to verbalize a utopian dream. The complex and layered surface of an infinite pipeline with no apparent beginning or end suggests a new system of flow and exchange. The work immerses us in a utopia, where labor and beauty overshadow function. Although mimetic, the multiplicity of meaning and function remains deliberately unclear, resulting in a refusal of the objects’ easy consumption and circulation.

David Thorpe (1972, London) lives and works in Berlin. His work has been exhibited at ICA (London), Hayward Gallery (London), Van Abbemuseum (Eindhoven), Tate Britain (London), The Museum of Contemporary Art (Los Angeles), Saatchi Gallery (London), Santa Barbara Museum of Art (Santa Barbara), Camden Arts Centre (London) or Kunstverein Hannover (Hannover) among other.