Hobson’s Choice: Thomas Houseago at Hauser & Wirth London

15 October 2012 By
Thomas Houseago, Monumental Woman Reclining I (Pour), 2012. courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth London

7 September – 27 October 2012

Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row, North Gallery


Open Tuesday – Saturday, 10am – 6pm

It has been hard to miss the somewhat meteoric rise of Thomas Houseago in recent years.  Working with materials associated with classical and modernist sculpture – carved wood, plaster and bronze– the young British artist is known for his monumental, quasi-figurative sculptures and relief wall panels bristling with energy and vitality.  Houseago’s sculptural language combines figurative elements, often drawing upon cultural, mythological and art historical references, emerging from geometric or organic forms which are in turn, punctured with holes, opening up their visible cavities and are crudely rendered and apparently directly worked upon by hand.  Houseago’s handling of his materials forefronts the physical process and materiality of sculpture, literally pulling, scraping and carving elements that are roughly hewn into enormous existence.  But it is drawing that is in fact fundamental to his working process and despite the often monumental, overtly physical nature of his approach, the sculptural forms he creates often flip into flat, two dimensional formats where a line works better to keep the idea of the sculpture abstract and conceptual, that is to say, completed in the mind of the viewer.  Highly theatrical and performative in attitude, and gargantuan in scale, Houseago’s pieces have no difficulty occupying the vast spaces at both Hauser & Wirth galleries on Savile Row, creating a site strewn with the awkward, unresolved relics that look like they have been excavated from the ruins of some recent past or yet to be imagined future.

Image: Thomas Houseago, Monumental Woman Reclining I (Pour), 2012. courtesy the artist and Hauser & Wirth London.