This work continues the conceptual framework presented by the notion of ‘duality’ as an absolute fact of human nature, manifested here through the image of a corner. The corner possesses a special significance in relation to phenomenology as demonstrated through architecture, with the French philosopher Gaston Bachelard calling it “a symbol of solitude for the imagination.” Thorpe’s corner pieces can be interpreted as a place of solitude, retreat and comfort, yet at the same time, a place of entrapment and loneliness, where one can be literally backed into a corner.
The green carpet serves as one of the artist’s earliest and strongest memories of home, his childhood bedroom. He considers rugs, this pattern in particular, as one of the most important and symbolic references in the work due to its immense emotional and psychic association. He says of the rug: “I can visualize it as a smell, with a kind of three-dimensional quality, a thickness beyond its actual dimension, like a form of synesthesia. In think now looking back, my experience encountering this rug was the catalyst for becoming an artist and my profound interest in understanding the broader meaning imbedded in every experience.”
A notable characteristic of this work is the introduction of the color magenta, which is ironic in that the color was named after the ‘Battle of Magenta,’ fought between the French and Austrians in the mid-19th century. As a color, however, it is generally associated with forgiveness and kindness, tending towards light thoughts and emotions. The very color itself then is imbued with this notion of polarity, its namesake taken after a long and bloody battle yet its associations with something warm and positive.
The opposing wall design is taken from an original Chinese scroll from the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) found within the archive of the Victoria and Albert Museum in London. During its creation, Thorpe was researching Carl Jung’s interest in Taoism, and while Taoism is the product of the Tang Dynasty, this new discovery led him to research imagery from the era. This beautiful pattern resonated strongly, especially during this intense period of global hardship and struggle brought on by COVID-19, as too does the teachings of Taoism as a philosophy that grew from observance of the natural world. Taoism takes as its central belief the concept of duality, requiring balance for harmony to be achieved, leading Jung to state: “The truth is one and the same everywhere, and I must say that Taoism is one of the most perfect formulations of it I ever became acquainted with.”