David Thorpe is a British artist currently based in Berlin. He is interested in the democratisation of art as expressed by William Morris and John Ruskin through the Arts & Crafts Movement of the late 19th century. His exquisite sculptures, made through intensive hand-made processes by skilled crafts-people as well as himself, are a reflection on labour as well as artistic production.
He creates strange sealed-off worlds where the natural and the artificial, the real and the fictional, New-Age and Space-Age fuse. Thorpe has said in the past that he is continually in search of new ways of creating his own world and in much of his work there is a visceral sense of a fictional wilderness in the making.
His practice has evolved from early work with photography and collage, to finely crafted large-scale installations made using an array of seemingly disparate media such as wood, hair, dung, rabbit skin, paint, light, leather and ceramics.
Thorpe’s work features in public and private collections in the UK, Japan and the US. He is represented by Casey Kaplan in New York, Meyer Riegger in Berlin and Maureen Paley in London. Recent exhibitions include those at The Hepworth Wakefield, Camden Arts Centre, Zabludowicz Collection and Simon Oldfield Gallery in London as well as the Santa Barbara Museum of Art and the Los Angeles Museum of Contemporary Art in California.
Thorpe’s commitment to craftsmanship as well as his complex interest in the relationship of aesthetics to beauty was a perfect fit within the context of the Permanent Commission for Hengrove.