Plato's Lair by Peter Hanmer
Film directed by: Peter Hanmer
Filmed and edited by Jack Davidson
For Candle And Bell
Co-sponsored by Newcastle University
In May 2018 Peter unveiled Plato’s Lair a site-specific installation at Cheeseburn Sculpture Garden in Northumbria, UK, commissioned as part of the Gillian Dickinson North East Young Sculptor of The Year award 2017. The work is heavily influenced by Plato’s story The Allegory of the Cave featured in Plato’s seminal work The Republic.
Within the large Victorian potting shed in the grounds of the centuries old Cheeseburn Grange House and Gardens a miniature society of bird like figures resides. Some seem content to watch television or picnic in the damp and dusty gloom, while others desperately try to escape into the sunlight looking for life beyond the potting shed. Guards police all the exits however and tyrannical leaders direct events in this tiny dictatorship.
In the Allegory of the Cave Plato asks us to imagine people shackled all their lives facing the wall of a cave where flickering shadows play; how this would become their only reality. The allegory is intended to provoke questions about the nature of reality; how we believe we know the world through our experience of it, but that this may be subliminally or forcefully influenced and distorted. Peter’s figurative works aim to test and often satirise accepted wisdom and conventional truths. Human constructs such as the hierarchy of human over animal for example. The otherness of the birdlike beings provides a distance for the viewer who observes a different yet identifiable character; an allegory for themselves, therefore transforming the potting shed into miniature replication of their own society.