In an otherwise unremarkable 1950s living room, a fantastical cast of ghostly characters is engaged in an orgy of sexual activity. At least one of them, sat on the burgundy sofa beneath a pair of winged, garlanded cherubs, appears to belong to an age long since past; the Erotic Dead, referred to in the painting’s title. Two other figures, silent witnesses swathed in sheets, look in through the window. Behind them a contemporary urban landscape lights up the night sky. Harrison has created a fairy story for adults, an otherworldly scene of animal lust. Is this the heaven of a socially emancipated past, he dares to ask, while the authoritative hell of today looms outside?

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