This is Marcus Harvey's largest UK public gallery exhibition to date. Inselaffe centre's around his most recent paintings, ceramics and bronze sculptures which forge motifs and emblems of Britishness, such as military memorabilia and joke shop knick-knacks into collaged portraits of historical figures - from Nelson to Margaret Thatcher and from Napoleon to Tony Blair.
Inselaffe is a German word meaning ‘Island Monkeys’ and is used, perhaps derogatively but mostly light heartedly, to describe the people of England. It derives from a tongue in cheek theory that evolution must have stalled in the UK.
The Exhibition features tough, but humorous sculptures, unapologetic and brash, political yet ambiguous, considered yet painterly and reflects on Harvey’s concerns of national identity and masculinity - ‘It is partly to wrest something from the all-pervading guilt over colonial misdemeanors and in part to ironise an overly romantic valuation of the past. The sentiment seems to be in equal measure one of irony and affection.