The Ambassadors

     An assemblage from 2018, The Ambassadors owes its title to a 1533 work of the same name (and exact dimensions, disregarding its very similar frame) to the paining by Hans Holbein that presently hangs in the London National Gallery. A double portrait, Holbein’s work depicts the French ambassador from the court of Henry VIII, Jean de Dinteville, and the French diplomat and bishop of Lavour, Georges de Selve. Here, however, they are replaced by references to my own son and daughter, which is to say, my ambassadors, who are respectively 21 and 24 years old (in 2018). The contrasting secular and religious realms and earthly and celestial spheres, so carefully segregated to left and right and upper and lower areas of the painting, are here exploded in an all-over interlocking modality, as is more fitting for the post-postmodern proclivities of the 21st Century. While some of the instruments and cultural appurtenances of the painting reappear here as well (including a sundial and a sextant and portions of an oriental rug), a far greater number of corresponding artifacts are gathered of contemporary provenance. A large three-dimensional ring dominates the work, consisting of 36 desktop hard drives on its face and a further 72 laptop hard drives on what we may call the inner and outer surfaces of the wheel’s rim and hub.


The AmbassadorsStephen Harris