Chris Agnew, Sacrifice (2012)

If superstition ran riot, might not every human casualty take on the complexion of a sacrifice. Every death would register as an appeasement of one of our many gods.

Admittedly, that is wacko. But here Chris Agnew juxtaposes what must be the most rational system of government, communism, with one of the least, Mayan.

In times of drought, enemy blood would have flowed atop of Chichen Itza pyramid in Mexico. Slower deaths may have been experienced in this Bucharest tower block.

It is arguable that both civilisations fed on the blood of their enemies. Sorry, make that all civilisations. Agnew’s drawing hints we may all be irredeemably primitive.

But no one can deny our talent for inspiring fear and wonder, through the monuments we construct or the or the artworks we hang on the wall.

This drawing, for example, is a marvel of concentration and detail. Agnew has built his pyramid with perhaps as much slavery as art, brick by tiny brick.

And it is terrifying to reflect that short of raising both pyramid and apartment block to the ground, we are bound to inherit something from them.

Perhaps an architectural synthesis of left and right wing is what we need. Or perhaps it is what we already have. We live in polarising times.

Sacrifice can be seen in Agnew’s solo show, The Pomp of Circumstances, at Nancy Victor Gallery, London, until July 6 2012. See gallery website for more details and check out the artist’s own website.

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