This gritty addition to the London diptych blends collage with pen-and-ink to capture the multiple layers of energy, grandeur, glamour and squalor overlaying this iconic London park. The pale form of an elephant looms in the background, as if waiting patiently for – for what? Liberation from a zoo enclosure? Clean air to breathe? Meanwhile, black scrawls circle and overwrite the animal itself and it’s surroundings, evoking both the twining forms of graffiti and the noise and emissions of the nearby Marylebone Road, one of the most polluted stretches of road in the United Kingdom. Dancing letters in childish colours and patterns surround the elephant, gesturing at the phalanxes of schoolchildren herded through the famous zoo every day to catch a glimpse of that most urban and enclosed patch of the wild.
Contrasting wilderness and urbanism, youthful discovery and the grubby world-weariness of London’s crowded monumental landscape, London III steps gently back from the class commentary of the diptych to invite in – or perhaps out – some of the playfulness, wildness and youth struggling in the cramped and grubby spaces – however elegant their lines – of our iconic capital.
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