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Sam Keogh, The Hunters Enter The Woods Cartoon

Sam Keogh's solo exhibition The Hunters Enter The Woods Cartoon is at St Chads Projects, Kings Cross, London from 1–15 June.

The exhibition presents the latest of Keogh's large-scale paper collage works drawing heavily from The Unicorn Tapestries – a series of seven 16th-century Flemish tapestries depicting the pursuit of a unicorn through an idealised landscape.

Flemish tapestries from this period required vast wealth to produce and were commissioned by aristocrats or wealthy merchants to demonstrate their social standing. During the French Revolution, many such artefacts were destroyed in acts of iconoclasm or repurposed toward more useful ends. Sections of The Unicorn tapestries were used to protect fruit trees from frost or to keep horses warm in winter. The tapestries’ surfaces, pockmarked by areas of damage and repair, serve as a material index of these events; each one a fraying, tearing and patching up of Europe’s historical narrative.

In Keogh’s work, the tapestries are re-made as ‘cartoons’, or 1:1 scale working drawings made for the production of a tapestry. Here, the establishing shot of The Unicorn Tapestries exists as a thumbnail, with two ‘Pages of hounds’ pulled out of context by a framing device similar to the ‘camera arrows’ of storyboarding, a hand-drawn tool of pre-production which anachronistically chimes with the tapestry cartoon. 

Floating above the two pages is a spectral silhouette of a rabbit. Its palette of acidic dayglo green sits strangely against the earthier tones of the pages and their dogs, and its style of figuration is closer to a more contemporary cartoon, that of Disney or Warner Bros.(or both, as was the case in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.)


Sam Keogh, The Hunters Enter The Woods Cartoon