Lot 11
  • 11

Henry Hudson

bidding is closed


  • Henry Hudson
  • Plate 3,  Protest and Performance
  • varnished plasticine on board
  • 183 by 245cm.; 72 by 96 1/2 in.
  • Executed in 2014.

Catalogue Note

Protest and Performance shows Young Sen as he begins his journey in the art world. At this stage, he has abandoned his medicine studies and is pursuing a career as an artist. In his present performance, Sen is dressed up as a crazed butcher, who stands between icons that symbolise the East and the West. To the left, the Star and Crescent stand on a barrel of oil, to the right a Christian cross has been erected out of burgers. This section carries autobiographical references, as Hudson’s own practice has involved performance pieces in the past, and the artist also tried to construct a cross out of this food. At the back of the composition, the National Gallery stands as a symbol of the world Sen wants to be part of, and to its left is Marc Quinn’s Alison Lapper Pregnant from 2005, the first Fourth Plinth commission, which spurred media and public attention when it was put on view at Trafalgar Square.

Young Sen’s parents are in London. However, the promising future that lay ahead when their son left China seems to have vanished, Sen’s mother has fainted at the sight of her son and is being tended to by paramedics. The rest of the scene depicts London’s chaotic daily pace. In Whitehall, protesters mingle with hooligans and tourists, shopkeepers and workers. Placards rise over the tumult with complaints against religion, fracking and exorbitant student fees amongst other issues.

The third plate in the series is a nod to two of William Hogarth’s works; the artist was inspired by O the Roast Beef of Old England (‘The Gate of Calais’) from 1748, from which the framing of the composition by columns and arch has been taken, and The March of the Guards to Finchley from 1750, which is evoked by the riotous arrangement of the figures. In the eyes of Young Sen’s parents his demise has already started. Their son, the intelligent and shy young character that waved them goodbye in the first scene is now performing in London’s very city centre. Still, in the eyes of Western spectators Sen’s performance is ingenious and worthy of being photographed and surely shared on social media.