Fashion & Beauty / Exhibit A

Adam Dant’s Catherine Imperatrista

The royals are perfect fodder for Adam Dant, an artist frequently compared to great British satirists like Swift or Hogarth. His Catherine Imperatrista, turns two current cultural obsessions into a handy table lamp imbued with a ribald humour that

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Catherine Imperatrista, Adam Dant, 2011.
Catherine Imperatrista, Adam Dant, 2011.

The royals are perfect fodder for Adam Dant, an artist frequently compared to great British satirists like Swift or Hogarth. His Catherine Imperatrista, turns two current cultural obsessions into a handy table lamp imbued with a ribald humour that harks back to his 18th century predecessors. The shade bears one of Dant’s ink drawings, in which Kate Middleton beams benignly; a bottle of super strength cheap cider serves for a base.

Included in the Hayward Project Space’s royal family-themed show, Middleton is accompanied by a dyptich of drawings where Dant depicts Princess Eugenie and Princess Beatrice in classical nymph mode. His bare-breasted Eugenie, rising to the heavens, cup in hand and attended by angels, while her devotees dance engrossed in a ritualistic bacchanal below, says much about modern times. Though if booze and celebrity are the shrines at which we worship, then Dant is kinder than the tabloids have been to these two princesses, transforming them into beautiful goddesses. Beatrice becomes a Venus, carried to shore on a shell.

One of Alison Jackson’s faked photos is another raucous highlight of this toothsome show, giving full reign to the tabloid fixations Dant subverts. Taken from her Up The Aisle series, her lookalike Wills leers from his silk bedclothes with an animal desire totally at odds with his skimmed milk media image, while the Kate reclines in skimpy undies.

The Royal Family at the Hayward Project Space runs until 2 May.

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