Hew Locke's 'Hemmed in Two' on view at Pérez Art Museum Miami

July 29, 2016

Hales Gallery is pleased to annonce that Hew Locke's work Hemmed in Two (2000) is currently on show in the Overview Galleries of the Pérez Art Musuem Miami as part of the 'Routes of Influence' exhibition. These galleries form a conceptual spine running through the building, continually placing collection works in visual dialogue with the exhibitions and projects presented in the museum’s additional galleries.


Part boat, part package, part infestation, a personal reflection on the global commodification of culture and its history; the barcodes acknowledge that this art-piece is itself a commodity which can become cargo or freight as soon as it leaves the studio. 

Cardboard is worldwide the standard shipping material for all types of goods, and the 'drawn' elements (Locke describes the cut-outs as "drawing with a knife") reference this.  Words such as 'Export' , 'Fragile', or barcodes, or symbols signifying 'This Way Up'. During the time he was creating this work, Locke made a research trip to the Tate Gallery storage facility and became fascinated by the physical packaging, and the international shipping and movement of artworks amongst museums.   


At once shambolic and magnificent, with references to Rococo, Medieval and Islamic architecture.  It's form is reminiscent of wrecks and rotting hulks,  and steam engines – not just of paddle steamers - but of victorian fairground rides.  The fretwork references wooden colonial architecture, with the woven aspect and latticework specifically relating to the 'bottom house' of Guyanese architecture.  The cut-outs echo the 1970's concrete breeze blocks common  in Miami and the wider Caribbean.

Hemmed In Two grew organically in the way of Kurt Schwitter’s Merz Barn, each time it was installed at a new venue.  For example, it developed on it's intervention into the fabric of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. Inspired by the museums’ problematic history Locke added to the piece to allude indirectly to it's collection.  The barcodes were taken from the museum reference labels accompanying each object in the museum, selecting seemingly insignificant-looking objects such as Meisen figurines depicting the Four Continents, or the telescope of Tipu Sultan, looted from his dead body by East India Company troops.

Hew Locke 
Routes of Influence: Ornament and Empire 
Pérez Art Museum Miami
1103 Biscayne Blvd
FL 3313
18 June 2016 - 18 July 2017
For more information please click here.