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Kate Hawkins: The King of Hearts Has No Moustache

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The Sartorialist Without Any Clothes
The Sartorialist Without Any Clothes © Kate Hawkins

London-based artist Kate Hawkins is fascinated by social rituals and facades, as well as notions of sincerity and theatrical artifice. These themes underlie much of her painting and performance based practice; and her latest exhibition, which opens at Gallery Vela tomorrow, proves no exception.

Who: London-based artist Kate Hawkins is fascinated by social rituals and facades, as well as notions of sincerity and theatrical artifice. These themes underlie much of her painting and performance based practice and her latest exhibition, which opens at Gallery Vela tomorrow, proves no exception. Entitled The King of Hearts Has No Moustache, the display considers moustaches – the ultimate symbols of disguise and theatricality.

What: The exhibition’s bristly protagonists are rendered in a pastel-infused, abstract series of paintings, which is both engaging and playful. The manner in which the paintings are displayed is as important as the works themselves as it makes transparent the mechanics of producing and hanging a painting, calling into question ideas of active and passive spectatorship – another aspect of “performance”. Hans Heights includes a ladder propped below the painting as if the hanging process is still underway, while The Sartorialist Without Any Clothes is hung from a tripod-like device, standing next to a (now redundant) wall.

"The exhibition’s bristly protagonists are rendered in a pastel-infused, abstract series of paintings, which is both engaging and playful"

Why: Hawkins' exhibition ties in with AnOther's acknowledgement of the moustache late last year, which celebrated the carefully groomed facial hair of, among others, Maurizio Merli, Dennis Hopper in his Easy Rider era and James Taylor. In her investigation of the moustache and its associations, Hawkins is following in the footsteps of artists such as the flamboyantly ‘tashe-adorned Salvador Dali and Mona Lisa defacing Marcel Duchamp (indeed, one of Hawkins’ pieces is titled L.H.O.O.Q., paying direct homage to Duchamp’s work).

The King of Hearts Has No Moustache opens at Gallery Vela tomorrow and runs until March 17.

Text by Daisy Woodward

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