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The Art of Squatting



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Physical Description

Photograph shows a man sitting in front of an easel in the foreground, apparently painting a woman who stands at the rear. The woman is wearing a bright yellow top and blue trousers. The room is bright but in poor repair; the peeling floral wallpaper only partially covers the exposed brick work of the far wall. The woman holds a magazine. There are carefully arranged fruit and flowers on the table to the left of the composition, in the style of a still life.
1997 Cibachrome print.

Object history

In this photo, Hunter references the oil painting 'The Art of Painting' by Johannes Vermeer.

In a 2024 interview with Anna Müller of Aesthetica Magazine, Hunter said of his series Life and Death in Hackney, 1999 – 2001:

"I wanted to paint a landscape of Hackney that captured its beauty and countered the cliches. The place had been described as an ugly wasteland that needed redeveloping, and so I wanted to show the way nature and people had reclaimed the wasteland. Weeds had sprung up through the cracks in the concrete in a beautiful way. [I] looked back on the Pre-Raphaelite artists and how they had woven narratives into their art. They took the notion of beauty and gave it an English makeover. I based all my works on Pre-Raphaelite paintings...Each of my works recreates the stories of people I lived with in squats, or partied with in empty industrial warehouses. The beauty I depict shows weeds instead of flowers, the unemployed and the squatters, the wastelands where the businesses have been deserted. The message: we are the flowers in your dustbin."

Associated Person

Hunter, Tom (Photographer)



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