THE EMPEROR'S NEW CLOTHES

2014, Oil on Italian Linen, 60 x 50cm

Finalist, The Nillumbuk Prize 2015

 

In Hans Christian Andersen’s fable, the Emperor’s clothes serve as metaphor for anything that smacks of pretentiousness, social hypocrisy and hollow ostentatiousness.    

But it’s more complicated than that. The moral message concerns not just regal pomposity but also the public’s collective culpability: as the swindle was only viable because everyone went along with the story rather than admit they could see nothing.

So here’s an alternative story in which the ridiculous substitutes the invisible. Because it’s hard to respect the preposterous. Or is it?