A Trip to Tate

Hew Locke’s ‘The Procession’ at Tate Britain

There are two very good reasons to visit Tate Britain at the moment and both relate to textile artworks.

Hew Locke’s ‘The Procession’ is both joyful and sinister. It is very site specific at the Tate, reminding the viewer where the Tate’s wealth was originally obtained but it is also about hope. Hew Locke talks about the work on this video from Tate.

Because the figures are life size and on the same level as the viewer it makes you feel as if you are part of an event. It feels almost as if the figures are just paused and just about to set off again.

And it is not just adult figures, but children and horses too.

Many of the characters are carrying flags on which there are repeated emblems relating to colonialism, power and slavery. Some of the textiles are printed but others are made of patchwork. Hew also uses a lot of cardboard in his figures. It is a real collage of techniques. There is a lot to take in and it is worth spending some time walking first up one side and then up the other.

At the very end of the parade there seems to be a figure carrying the world on his shoulders.

But of course I said there were two good reasons to visit Tate Britain and the other was to see the Cornelia Parker exhibition which I also really loved. So many clever ideas, needless to say I will include her collaborative embroidery – ‘Magna Carta (An Embroidery) which is beautifully displayed so you can see both the top and the underside.

Image shows the mirrors on the underside that reflect the back of the work, but in such a way that it is shown in a readable format. That is to say it is a mirrored mirror image.

And of course we had to make sure we had a good look at the section stitched by EAST’s very own Anthea Godfrey.

Hew Locke’s ‘The Procession’ will be on display at Tate Britain until 22 January 2023, but to see Cornelia Parker you need to visit before 16 October 2022.

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