Rule of Three


The Kingdom of the Father

by Damien Hirst
Mixed media

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Three jewel-toned panels hang against a white gallery wall, their arched shapes unmistakably evoking stained-glass church windows. Despite the biblical reference of the artwork’s title, though, The Kingdom of the Father is devoid of Christian iconography. Instead, the curved panels are composed solely of intricate geometric patterns, which appear to shift hypnotically before the viewer. On a closer look, the rich colours and complex, intertwining shapes on show reveal themselves to be formed from hundreds of individual butterfly wings. With the revelation that its beauty is indebted to an assemblage of dead insects, the work takes on a haunting quality. These ephemeral creatures, once at one with nature, are now fated to be encased within the gloss coating forever.

Words by Katherine Fieldgate

Resolved Problems

by Fahrelnissa Zeid

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We face a canvas filled with small, bright-hued shards, which together resemble a shattered mirror. In its loud, arresting palette and lack of lifelike forms, the painting claims our attention and presents us with a maze to navigate. Yet, however disorientating the sharp angles may be, the sight is a strangely comforting one. The artwork’s title speaks not of tension, but of security and neat conclusions. Perhaps the name refers to the creative process itself, and to Fahrelnissa Zeid’s shift from figuration to abstraction. Influenced by her first experience of seeing the world from an aeroplane, the artist came to view the world as a mass of contours, joined together in both order and disarray.

Words by Sophia Martin-Pavlou

Caught Out There

by Kelis

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A crowd of women holler in unison over a swaggering, syncopated beat. Kelis lays a spoken introduction on top, dedicated to any female listeners who have been lied to, who ‘maybe didn’t break the way you should’ve broke’. The verses’ soulfully sung melodies complement the backing track’s swooning synths, but the lyrics, which chide a cheating partner, are far from laidback. As Kelis sings, she embellishes the main vocal line with her own reactions, some comical, some caustic. When the chorus comes, she ditches the smooth vocals expected of R&B and opts instead for a distorted, repeated shout: ‘I hate you so much right now.’ Wronged but refusing to accept her mistreatment quietly, she pauses only to add a cathartic, wordless yell.

Words by John Wadsworth

More to discover

The Kingdom of the Father: Find more information about the artwork on Damien Hirst’s website here.

Resolved Problems: Suzy Gauntlett has written an article about the artist, Fahrelnissa Zeid, for Tate. Tate have also created a short documentary, Remembering Princess Zeid, and a list of Zeid’s four key artworks, which can be read here.

Caught Out There: Listen to the song here.

Today's connection

The Kingdom of the Father and Resolved Problems both feature kaleidoscopic visuals, while ‘Caught Out There’ was the first single from Kelis’s debut album, Kaleidoscope.

Question of the day

Which artworks related to the word 'Kaleidoscope' would you recommend?
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