Thrones no one wants to sit on

Gonçalo Mabunda’s chilling constructions are now on display at the Jack Bell gallery in London. His thrones (above) and faceless masks (below) are made from weapons used in Mozambique’s civil war. These designs make dark mockery of ergonomics: you wouldn’t want to put these masks on your face. There is some uncanny resemblance to Modernist assemblages, and the gallery notes make a connection with Cubists. An instructive comparison is Jacob Epstein’s The Rock Drill (1913-15), a prophetic monument to the horrific potentialities of modern industry. Mabunda’s work suggests a similar comparison, between the intensive wastefulness of war and the difficulties of post-conflict community projects. Above all, it seems a grim satire on the useless objects which adorn bad leadership.

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