Picture preview: Barnaby Barford's Seven Deadly Sins


“I think it’s all about love gone wrong,” says Barnaby Barford, when contemplating the true meaning of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins’.

For centuries, the extremes of human desire or motivation have been articulated by the seven words: Pride, Sloth, Gluttony, Wrath, Lust, Envy and Avarice. His new interpretation of those extremes go on show at the David Gill Gallery, London from today.

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Barford has spent the last twelve months considering the way society measures and values extreme sensations. “We are all hard-wired to desire power, love, possessions. That’s probably the way all humans have been like,” he says. “It’s not fundamentally bad to desire things but what interests me is the way these ‘sins’ can motivate people. How does the idea of ‘sin’ affect people these days when we live in a largely secular society? What are the consequences?”

In confronting what he sees as uncomfortable truths about contemporary society, Barford decided that the viewers of his work should find themselves not just reflecting on the ideas he has presented to them but also, literally, reflected within the mirror. “You see the piece and you see yourself within it,” he says.

The Seven Deadly Sins at David Gill Gallery until 12 April, www.davidgillgalleries.com