Specially commissioned by Camden Arts Centre, The Defeated Life Restored is David Thorpe's most ambitious installation to date. Known for his meticulous collages, the work is made up of huge, intricately carved wood and coloured-glass screens inset with a series of botanical studies. This forms the backdrop to three totemic star sculptures covered in handcast tiles.
Referring to 17th-century land reformers and early 20th-century groups who lived out ideals of self-suffiency, David Thorpe encourages the pursuit of an alternative existence despite the failed utopias of the past. A homage to making, this piece demonstrates enjoyment and spiritual harmony through work, making specific reference to the arts and craft movement.
Thorpe’s work can be seen as aspiring towards a better, fuller life, not by returning to past ideals but through a sense of self-sufficiency, or by remaining apart in what he has called ‘a state of exile’.
The exhibition is organised by Camden Arts Centre with Kunsthaus Glarus, Switzerland and Museum Kurhaus Kleve, Germany.