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oil, pigment, charcoal, canvas
121cm w x 152cm h
by Christopher R. Inwood
about this painting

WHAT the artist writes



You see a person repeated three times, increasing in size from left to right. The three repeated faces indicate movement in time. But as they increase, the facial features break down into little squares of flat colour stacked in the shape of the face.  We loose the nose, as it becomes a cluster of coloured squares, the eyes, too, give way to a reduction and all that remains is a square of blue. The face has been stretched into its basic elements. Finally, the face fractures as the pixels are spread too thin, and only from a distance can the face be seen.

Above the faces sit the words ‘ideologies fall down at scale’. We now understand that the faces are ideas. Ideas and theories exist across all elements of life. However similarly to the painting, it is at the large scale that they often fall down. For example, there is a large swell of people trying to change the governing system in which we inhabit, as political processes often privilege the ideals of the wealthy and regularly sideline the remaining majority. This can be seen in practice through government approved environmental destruction, war, lack of gender equality and marriage equality, the failure of the war on drugs, and an unwillingness to move away from fossil fuels, to name a few.

A lot of ideologies and potential solutions have been created in attempt to define a future governing system. Similarly to this painting however, the fundamental element of any successful ideology is the way in which it operates at scale. We must be very careful when navigating the transition from the current form of governance to the next. We must examine it closely and slowly implement it, rather than execute a seemingly instantaneous transition. In a democratic society for example, one idea is that individuals vote for policies they want implemented rather than electing a leader who comes with policies they don’t value. While we have the technologies to implement such a system, it will likely fall down if its implementation at a large scale isn’t intricately resolved.


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