The Banquet

Sculpture, 1985
Polychrome Wood

Pacheco had made a small bronze study of a banquet scene while still in Brazil but she was not satisfied with it. Some twenty years later she felt ready to tackle the subject again and The Banquet, the third piece of the triptych, Some Exercise of Power, was completed in 1985.

Pacheco had The Banquet installed for some time in her Norfolk studio and observed people closely as they looked at it. Always they went to the same spot opposite the large figure that looks out across the table. The viewer takes his or her place as fifth guest at the table, or next item on the menu. The piece is suggestive of both pagan and Christian ritual.

Most of Pacheco’s figures, while recognisably human, are distortions of the human form. Their very lack of naturalism makes them, paradoxically, more real. The diners here are huge. When the viewer stands opposite these seated figures they are at eye level. One engages with them on their terms. The oversized domed heads and body proportions of several early Pacheco figures make them resemble children as much as adults, which lends an even more sinister aspect to their actions.

Robert Bush