The "Conqueror" was an international multimedia art extravaganza involving two locations: one, a dirty little 24-hour east end drinking den, the other, a sumptuous luxurious baroque Italian palace situated in the foothills of the Italian Alps near the historical and beautiful city of Turin named Castello de Rivara. The pub was called The Conqueror.
This project included 15 portrait paintings of fellow drinkers in this bar being exhibited in the museum at Rivara. It also involved taking the subjects of these portraits from Shoreditch on a long, long bus journey to the castle where they were guests at the opening of the exhibition "The Conqueror". This whole episode was filmed by a New York film crew up until the point that they could suffer no more. I sacked them in Turin. Apparently the film "The Conqueror" was made but I surprisingly never heard from the film team ever again.
All in all "The Conqueror" was a cross-cultural triumph where the mink clad art lovers of Turin were confronted not only by the paintings but their subjects also. This caused an international incident and I wasn't asked to show there again. The paintings remain as a legacy of a special moment in East London folklore circa 1997/98. The bar was shut down shortly after and remains so. It still stands empty today and if one peers through the filthy windows one can still hear the racket, the mayhem, the laughter and general pandemonium that used to pervade from its welcoming dark, drunken, drug fueled, e soaked, coke filled interior. "The Conqueror" is an iconic symbol of East London riotous Hogarthian celebration of a time before the invasion ot the outsiders.
Paintings on this page...
Steve Le J