The Illusion of Luxury: Kathy Dalwood’s Secret Society– A Sculptural Banquet

© tropicalart77 with CCLicense
© tropicalart77 with CCLicense

British sculptor Kathy Dalwood is well known for her architectural sculpture, having designed planters and other items for the home. Her latest project, Secret Society– A Sculptural Banquet is a stunning foray into the world of modern art. Common everyday items such as toys, plastic fruit, cups, and baskets are coated in plaster and arranged into what resembles a baroque feast, giving them an air of luxury that shines from a distance. Looking at the items up close, one realizes that they are not luxury items, but everyday things which have been assembled together and frozen in time, as if the table had been set for a macabre and mysterious group of ghosts.

Notice that there are many sculptures of women with large hats decorated with all manner of things: a toy airplane, a book, a toy horse and carriage, and a toy car, among others. Some of these ladies are strangled or swathed by vacuum cleaner hoses or fascinating textures created from things such as fabric, paper, puzzle pieces, or bubble wrap that creep around their heads and necks. One lady seems to peer from a slit in a paper bag while another is completely covered to her forehead. What do you think these characters represent? Different modes of thought, different prejudices, different blindspots, different means of oppression?

Secret Society is a beautiful and thought-provoking piece currently on view at the Pitzhanger Manor in London. You can see more and read about this unusual installation in this wonderful article from

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