About the Artwork

Mark Handforth’s sculptures are meticulously crafted, but deliberately imperfect, often containing a wry humour and poetry in their references and arrangement in space. Harlequin Four is a large, fourteen-foot, freestanding sculpture, towering over the viewer and delineating in muscular calligraphy, an ad-hoc number four. Its harlequin colours and staggered light fixtures act like a beacon in the urban landscape.

The form of the ‘4’ is recurrent in Handforth’s work, and he describes it as being ‘the beginning of every drawing’, as well as an incomplete star.

There is much symbolism in this number, for example it is considered a number of “being”, the number that connects mind-body-spirit with the physical world of structure and organisation. Likewise, the use of lights is a commonality throughout his practice, in the form of candles, reflective neons and fluorescent lights. Handforth cites the way that the landscapes of artificial light that many of us live in, “means that night just becomes a different kind of day”.

Year: 2019

Courtesy the artist and Modern Art, London. Photo: © Nick Turpin


Painted aluminium, waterproof fluorescent lights


426 x 70 x 260 cm

Artist Biography

Mark Handforth

Mark Handforth was born in Hong Kong in 1969 and grew up in London. He lives and works in Miami. He completed his studies in the early 1990s at the Slade School of Fine Art, London, and at the Städelschule, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Selected solo exhibitions include Dr Pepper, ICA Miami, FL, USA (2017); Smoke, Museo d’Arte Contemporanea Villa Croce, Genoa, Italy (2016); Sidewalk Island, Governors Island, NY, USA (2014); Rolling Stop, MOCA, Miami, FL, USA (2011); MCA Chicago Plaza Project: Mark Handforth, Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, IL, USA (2011); Hessel Museum of Art, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY, USA (2011). His work has been included in group exhibitions at institutions such as MoCAD, Detroit, MI, USA (2017); Palais de Tokyo, Paris, France (2015); Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2013); Musée d’art moderne et contemporain, Geneva, Switzerland (2013); Kunsthaus Zürich, Switzerland (2005); Whitney Biennial, Whitney Museum, New York, NY, USA (2004), and the UCLA Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA, USA (2002).