The Great American Songbook
10/02/24 - 01/03/24





The Knight’s Tour
A Solo Exhibition by Henry Glover
09/09/22 - 23/09/22
Backhaus Projects
Berlin, Germany

Grove Collective is pleased to present the upcoming exhibition The Knight’s Tour, a solo exhibition by London-based interdisciplinary artist Henry Glover, on view at the gallery’s Berlin sister space, Backhaus Projects, from September 9th to September 23rd, 2022. This is the first time that Grove Collective will work with Glover, marking his first show in Germany.

Chess, as both game and subject, has the capacity to be both nebulous and expansive. The game consists of 32 individual pieces confined to the 64-square board. Each piece has their set movements with no leeway in rules, which date back to seventh-century India. However, the socio-political vectors of the game continue well past “checkmate”. Notions of chivalry and valour as analogised through chess were widely circulated through the 14th and 15th centuries, primarily through the written works of Italian Jacobus de Cessolis and Englishman William Caxton, respectively. Many of the ways in which we conceive of our personal, social and civic duties are seen in these early didactic texts, deploying the rigidity of the game towards equally rigid social mores. Reflecting this, the alternate title for de Cessolis’ Book of Chess is Book of the Customs of Men and the Duties of Nobles. In turn, Glover pays homage to the long tradition of chess by creating mental and physical spaces for reflection and critique, using chess pieces to find contemporary analogues.

Employing his diverse skillset across media, Glover's representational paintings of chess pieces evoke the aesthetics of the High Medieval period, melding historical formalism with his natural style and irreverence. In a subtle reference to his own background, the artist openly cites Paolo Uccello’s The Hunt (1470), held in the Ashmolean Museum of his native Oxfordshire. Similarly, Glover cleverly inserts a fly into the series’ bishop: a reference to Cimabue’s fabled snipe at his apprentice Giotto’s work in the late 13th century, signifying the student surpassing his master and the birth of the Italian Renaissance. In doing so, Glover’s works become deeply temporal in their scope, whereby preceding customs are shaken loose by broadened historical and personal perspectives.

Glover produced a ceramic chess set and seating arrangement by hand, inviting visitors to play amongst themselves. Glover reminds us that the game and its legacy are products of imagination subject to revision. The works are designed to be experiential, inhabiting the same space that the viewer occupies, firmly situating a rich and historic game in the present. Additionally, he calls upon the viewer to perform some of the game’s lingering social artefacts: chivalry, religion, and patriarchy. By incorporating these ideas across the entire space, the artist perches ceramic totems on his paintings and scatters additional pieces across the floor, echoing the game itself.

For Grove Collective and Backhaus Projects, this becomes an exciting opportunity to engage with an artist whose practices exist beyond traditional media, in turn providing a meaningful experience to local viewers. Driven by experimentation, Glover’s multifaceted and undefinable practice is as daring as Backhaus strives to be. Furthermore, considering the community-driven ethos of the Backhaus Projects space, such engaging and deeply social work strives to create a long-lasting impression on the viewer—everyone in the kiez is invited to come play chess and ruminate on Glover’s work.

Moving forward, it is the hope of Grove Collective and Backhaus Projects for this exhibition to pave the way for subsequent, equally incisive shows.

Additional Installation Images