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The Heong Gallery, Downing College, CB2 1DQ Cambridge, Cambridgeshire
Free places available for 2 exhibition tours of the current exhibition. Learn more about Stephen Chambers RA, The Court of Redonda and the print series on display in the gallery. Explore the college's own collection of Chambers' art, not usually on public display.
The Court of Redonda
24 February — 20 May 2018
The Court of Redonda is a vast collective portrait of an imaginary court of maverick and singular individuals. The installation of 101 paintings articulates the role played by artists in envisaging a world not how it is, but how it could be. Featuring subjects drawn from different epochs and cultures and hung with reference to historic portrait collections, the court imagines a utopian society that celebrates the creative and idiosyncratic.
The Court of Redonda is inspired by a literary legend that has developed around a tiny, uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea. Redonda was claimed in 1865 by a merchant trader who established an honorary monarchy that has been passed down to the present through a literary lineage. Collisions in fact and fiction about the island are described by the novelist Javier Marías, who was until recently a King of Redonda. Sparked by a ‘mental collaboration’ with Marías, who appointed many notable writers and artists to his imaginary court, Chambers has created a collective of individuals, where creativity is honoured over hereditary privilege.
Curated by Emma Hill, The Court of Redonda was made over a two-year period that coincided with Britain’s referendum about leaving the European Union and touches upon themes of identity, heredity and nationalism.
Stephen Chambers was elected to the Royal Academy of Art, in London, in 2005 and was awarded an Honorary Fellowship from Downing College at the University of Cambridge, in 2016. The Court of Redonda was shown at the Venice Biennale in 2017 and followed solo exhibitions at the Royal Academy, London (2012) and the Pera Museum, Istanbul (2014).