Yoko XXXVI is an editioned sculpture of Don Brown’s wife Yoko, a series which has been ongoing throughout his career. For Yoko XXXVI, he worked with the renowned Nymphenburg Porcelain Makers in Munich, Bavaria, over a two-year period, continuting to explore questions of representational perfection.
His sculptural vocabulary harks back to classical antiquity and the elegance and idealism of neoclassical marbles such as Canova’s The Three Graces (1814-17), while also invoking Modernist realism as instanced by Degas' La Petite Danseuse de Quatorze Ans (1881).
The small scale and rarefied medium of this new work call to mind the porcelain miniatures that were highly fashionable from the eighteenth century, and which frequently presented theatrical ‘types’ or copies of classical artworks. Brown reworks that recherché tradition by evoking a modern-day figure in the lineaments of a neoclassical miniature.
In Brown’s distinctive take on classical sculpture, the place of an idealised heroine is taken by the real-life figure of the artist’s wife in a casual pose. Yoko becomes a conflation of the generic and the individual.
Known for sculpting half or three quarter scale figurines of his body and that of his wife Yoko, Don Brown is interested in the way bodies support one another, slump, pose or perch. In contrast to the conventions of classical sculpture, his figures expose human realism, cast to represent some of the small details of humankind’s physique, and to belie the myth of the hero in antique iconography.
Don Brown studied at the Royal College of Art, London. He has had a number of international solo exhibitions, including a major exhibition titled Yoko at Le Consortium, Dijon, France, in 2007. His work has been included in group shows throughout Britain and Europe, including The Naked Portrait, 1900-2007 at the Scottish National Gallery, Edinburgh, the 2007 Royal Academy of Art Summer Exhibition, and Timer 01, Triennale Bovisa, Milan, 2007. He lives and works in Suffolk, England.