Tim Shaw, says Mark Hudson in his introductory essay to this lavish survey of the artist’s work, is one of the great storytellers of British art. His pieces are certainly unsettling, questioning and often uncomfortable. It’s perhaps inevitable that the hooded Abu Ghraib figure of Casting A Dark Democracy features largely in it, maybe even to the extent that it appears to be what the book is about, rather than the many other figurative pieces with their distorted bodies and featureless faces. If it does, this is a shame, as Shaw’s work is more varied, both in style and location, than a rather heavily political piece implies.
The majority of the book is taken up with generously-sized and excellent quality photographs of Shaw’s pieces. These are often not just single images, but include close-ups as well as wider, contextualising shots – even when that context is an otherwise empty space. This helps to give a sense both of scale and impact – how sculpture occupies its location can be as important as where it occupies it, to the extent that it can be part of the work itself.
The text includes essays as well as an interview by the independent curator, Indra Khanna, with Tim Shaw that, while relatively short, examines some of his thought processes and creative intentions.
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