Drawings and sculptures, presented by Morten Viskum
Thomas Houseago (b. 1972) is a British sculptor best known for his reflections on the human body. His works are often monumental and rich with artistic and cross-cultural references. In spite of their typically impressive size, the sculptures seem delicate and almost vulnerable to the viewer. Much of this effect is achieved through the materials Houseago chooses, including plaster, hessian, wood and dried mud. Even when he works in bronze, steel or concrete, the artist strives to transmit something of the vulnerability at the core of his expression. Many years of study and research underpin his expertise with the materials, a knowledge that allows him to transfer the qualities of one material to another, from small formats to large, from vulnerability to monumentality and back again. In his approach to the human body and to the history of depictions of the body Houseago’s materials function as a catalyst for new narratives, the early stages of which we can read in some of the works that are presented here.
We are fortunate to be able to exhibit in Galleri Star in 2017 a selection of Houseago’s early drawings and sculptures, produced between 1996 and 2001. In both expressions, the drawing and the sculpture, we see the workings of his creative method, not least in the intimate application of eye and hand, and in the way he allows the material to form a point-of-departure for his analysis of the motif. Houseago has said that he prefers sculpture one can move around so that the work’s latent energy is only gradually disclosed. This is already evident in his small works in which we can see that each aspect of the sculpture, or drawing, has been executed with a specific goal in mind.
To sculpt a figure. Is it an attempt to record appearance? Within the architecture of a figure I have found sensations, memories and emotions set open. My figures and my studio are, perhaps, an attempt at distillation, at finding a distance from which I am able to study life.
Thomas Houseago, Amsterdam, August 1996