John Locke


Mixed Media

236.2 x 50.8 x 53.3 cm (93 x 20 x 21 in.)

A white monolith with a crumbly texture rises to a height of over two metres. A mysterious stele or abstract totem pole, John Locke belongs to Rachel Harrison’s series of sculptures paying offbeat tribute to men who left a mark on their time. The English philosopher, father of empiricism and author of Essay Concerning Human Understanding (1689) rubs shoulders with Amerigo Vespucci, Claude Lévi-Strauss, Johnny Depp and Tiger Woods.

John Locke is more sober than the eight other grotesque, glamorous or tortuous semi-monumental monoliths in the 2007 "If I Did It" show at New York’s Naftali Gallery. Here the work looks surprisingly soft and fragile. Its unexpected character reflects Harrison's inventiveness and rejection of artistic labels.

It was shown for the first time by the Pinault Collection during the 2009 exhibition "Mapping the Studio" at the Palazzo Grassi in Venice.

Rachel Harrison's other artwork