In the ground floor gallery, Thorpe displays a series of meticulously rendered pipe works continuing his interest in traditional methods of handwork. Using non-synthetic materials such as mud, natural dyes, bone glue and slack lime, the works emphasise the complexity of their production, engaging with the radical spirit of the vanished artisan.
Inspired in part by the English Arts & Crafts Movement, John Ruskin and the late socialist writings of William Morris, the works in this exhibition engage in an aesthetic of ornate botanical design with leaves and branches that encircle the pipes outer layers. These sculptures create an atmosphere that lingers somewhere between a historical lament and a utopian ideal, where labour and a form of beauty overshadow function. The stand-alone works show no obvious beginning or end and suggest the possibility of new systems of flow and exchange.
David Thorpe lives and works in Berlin. Solo exhibitions include The Hepworth Wakefield (2012) and Kunstverein Hannover, Germany (2009). His work has been included in group shows including Drawing Room, London (2019), Centre d’art Neuchâtel, Neuchâtel, Switzerland (2014), Santa Barbara Museum of Art, Santa Barbara, USA (2013), The Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, USA (2011), Camden Arts Centre, London (2007), Hayward Gallery, London (2005), Tate Britain, London (2004), Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Netherlands (2000) and ICA, London (1998).