British exhibition takes irreverent look at royals

5th April 2011, Comments 0 comments

Prince William and Kate Middleton embrace on rumpled sheets and Queen Elizabeth II's head on a banknote is adorned with a clown nose, in an irreverent exhibition just weeks before the royal wedding.

"The Royal Family" show at the Hayward Gallery brings together a range of work poking fun at William and Kate and other royals as excitement mounts ahead of their wedding on April 29.

The fake photo by British artist Alison Jackson, "William and Kate in Bed, 2011", shows doubles of the royal couple relaxing in their bedroom, with the angle of the picture suggesting it was taken by a hidden camera.

"Alison's work is about the anxiety that surrounds sex and royalty," said the show's curator Tom Morton.

"When I was a child, in 1981, the virginity of Diana was trumpeted by the palace. Noone talks about William and Kate, yet we know they lived together before their marriage."

The queen features on a £10 bank note wearing a bright red circus clown nose, in a work by German artist Hans Peter-Feldmann.

For his "Orphan Tea Service", Alan Kane has collected mismatched cups, plates and teaspoons donated to charity chops in the shadow of Windsor Castle, the queen's favourite residence.

The work recalls the turbulent royal relationships of the recent past -- one cup commemorates the marriage of Prince Andrew to Sarah Ferguson, which ended in 1996.

In a video exhibit, Norwegian artist Lars Laumann harks back to the conspiracy theories that surrounded the death of Princess Diana in a car crash in Paris in 1997.

He argues that the English pop group The Smiths -- whose seminal 1986 single was called "The Queen is Dead" -- foretold Diana's death.

© 2011 AFP

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