Cardboard Palace, Hew Locke's commission for Chisenhale Gallery is a vast architectural construction that investigates the traditions of British culture and heritage. The piece resonates strongly with issues surrounding the nation's monarchy – at a time when the UK marks the Queen's golden jubilee.
Cardboard Palace is ambitious and complex, and brings together key strands of Locke's practice to date into a significant and beguiling new work. Locke creates a chaotic but beautiful structure, in which visitors negotiate a series of loosely defined spaces.
As viewers pass through a fantastical maze they witness a series of cardboard images of the Royal Family, delicately intertwined with cut-out texts alluding to packaging, export and commodity culture. Cardboard Palace also draws on a multitude of references including sacred, Caribbean, Rococo, Islamic and Rajput architecture, as well as drawing on Victorian grottoes, carousels and funfairs.
Hew Locke completed his MA at the Royal College of Art in 1994, and had a solo installation at The Horniman Museum, London in March 2002. In 2000 Locke exhibited the installation Hemmed In Too at the V&A Museum. In the same year he received an East International Award and a Paul Hamlyn Award.
Cardboard Palace was commissioned by Chisenhale Gallery and supported by The Henry Moore Foundation