THURSDAY 6 SEPTEMBER 2012,
6 — 8 PM
7 SEPTEMBER – 27 OCTOBER 2012
Thomas Houseago is a sculptor of contradiction.
Using a highly evolved artistic language,
he creates works which are mysterious and
unworldly, yet brutally straightforward. Their
seemingly unfinished surfaces are rough, yet
sophisticated and, through the artist's graphite
sketches on the plaster, they combine the
three-dimensionality of sculpture with the twodimensionality
of drawing. For his debut with the
gallery, Houseago will present two exhibitions,
filling both spaces of Hauser & Wirth, Savile
Row with new, monumental figures, relief wall
panels and abstract, columnar lamps. Working in
traditional, low-grade materials such as plaster,
hemp, graphite and iron rebar before casting in
bronze, these works emphasise the performative
act of sculpture.
At over three metres tall, Houseago's unique lamp works
tower above the viewer. Set atop pedestals, these quasi-figurative, geometric forms are punctured with eye socket-like holes through which a white light shines.
They are equal parts menacing and welcoming, beckoning the viewer to enter the gallery with their eerie
and ethereal glow.
Houseago strives to impart a sense of energy and
animism to his figures. Whether standing with feet
spread wide, striding forward, or lying supine on the
gallery floor, despite their hollow gaze and empty interior,
these sculptures are infused with a sense of urgency
and dynamism. Houseago fully embraces the process
of sculpting by leaving visible the structural components.
The iron rebar which forms the figures' skeleton weaves
in and out of its plaster skin. The artist's movements as
he shaped and carved the work remain as handprints,
strokes and gashes on the sculpture's surface.
Houseago's wall panels are filled with depictions of
arms, hands, feet, fingers, and mask-like faces, moving
beyond his earlier abstract reliefs. Like his figures,
weighty smears of bronze build up form, lending volume
to the otherwise disembodied faces and limbs, which,
despite their fragmentation, seem to press into the panel
and bend as if preparing to leap onto the ground.
Houseago's practice further pushes the boundaries of contemporary sculpture, yet he often looks
back to art history. In the case of his wall
panels, he references the composition of the
meticulously detailed anatomical drawings of
the Renaissance. However, unlike his Humanist
forebears, Houseago’s panels are unrefined and
fractured to the point of deconstruction.
Born in Leeds, England, Thomas Houseago's
career has taken him from the United Kingdom
to the Netherlands, to Belgium and finally to
the United States, where he currently lives
and works in Los Angeles CA. Houseago's
works are currently on view in a number of
group exhibitions including 'Art and the City', a
public art festival in Zurich, Switzerland (until 23
September 2012); 'Great St. Helen's Sculpture
Space', St. Helen's Square, London, England
(until January 2013); and on the High Line, New
York NY (until March 2013). ‘Where The Wild
Things Are’, a solo exhibition of Houseago’s
works, will open at Sainsbury Centre for Visual
Arts, Norwich, England on 31 July 2012.
Houseago's recent solo exhibitions include
Hauser & Wirth Outdoor Sculpture, Southwood
Garden, St. James's Church, London, England
(2012); 'The Beat of the Show', Inverleith House, Edinburgh, Scotland (2011); and the major touring
exhibition 'What Went Down' at Museum Abteiberg, Monchengladbach, Germany, realised in
cooperation with Modern Art Oxford, England and the Centre International d'Art et du Paysage de l'lle
de Vassivière, France where the show was on view in summer 2011.
Concurrent with his exhibitions in London, Houseago will also present an exhibition of new works at
Hauser & Wirth Zürich, entitled 'Plants, flowers & faces', which will be on view from 1 September to 20
SAVILE ROW NORTH GALLERY
23 SAVILE ROW
LONDON W1S 2ET