Visitors to the Economist Plaza will be lured towards a large stainless-steel ovoid form, lying motionless on its side. Imaginations may swirl with interpretations and associations. Is it a huge egg on loan from the Science Museum, a fantasy UFO or a cage-like trap, awaiting victims unable to resist peering through the opening at its base?
Joseph Hillier’s archetypal object in this instance is a structure built from a triangulated linear web using the principles of geodesic mathematics. The cold geometrical form becomes increasingly mysterious as viewers gradually sense they are being watched with curiosity and fascination. Peering half-hidden from behind one of the building’s supporting columns is a bronze statue of a small naked man, crouching like a vulnerable animal, wondering whether to pounce or run. Yet he remains motionless, as intrigued by us as we are by the puzzling form.
Cast in bronze this figure – half-man, half-beast – has an unnerving presence and poignant aura of humanity. Hillier conceived the figure using video footage of himself copying the movements of other primates.
The artist explains his inspirations: “It is our animal response to sculptures of other humans that fascinates me; the idea of conjuring a presence from inanimate matter. By pairing a figure with a personal archetype, I hope to create a curious drama where numerous metaphors emerge.”
Born in Cornwall, Joseph Hillier currently lives in Newcastle-upon-Tyne, having graduated with a BA (Hons) Fine Art from Newcastle University in 1997 and an MFA Sculpture from Tulane University, New Orleans in 2003. He has featured in British and international exhibitions and been awarded several public commissions. In 2000, the Arts Council presented him with Year of the Artist Award and in 2004 he was elected associate member of the Royal British Society of Sculptors. Joseph Hillier is represented by Rollo Contemporary Artwww.rolloart.com