Specially commissioned by Camden Art Centre, The Defeated Life Restored was David Thorpe's most ambitious installation to date.
Known for his meticulous collages, the work was made up of huge, intricately carved wood and coloured-glass screens inset with a series of botanical studies. This formed the backdrop to three totemic star sculptures covered in handcast tiles.
Referring to 17th-century land reformers and early 20th-century groups who lived out ideals of self-suffiency, David Thorpe encouraged the pursuit of an alternative existence despite the failed utopias of the past. A homage to making, this piece demonstrated enjoyment and spiritual harmony through work, making specific reference to the arts and craft movement.
Thorpe’s work could be seen as aspiring towards a better, fuller life, not by returning to past ideals but through a sense of self-sufficiency, or by remaining apart in what he called ‘a state of exile’.