Hornby practices sculpture as inquiry, challenging the icon with its own evocative, metonymic fragment: white abstract sculptures, ranging in size from the small bust to the public monument, from the intimate to the historic.
For each piece, Hornby coerces unwitting sculptures to cohabit a single space: a portrait from the V&A, a Henry Moore figure, Elizabeth Frink’s Riding Man. Virtualised on a computer, Hornby superimposes these threedimensional forms, then cuts them by machine and finally casts a single object. Each finished sculpture is derived from the physical intersections of such overlapping source material. So, as the viewer circulates the object, recognisable fragments snap into view before dissolving back into abstraction. It is as if the artist gives us a puzzle: we are left to dissect an amalgam of sources, processes and constructions, piled around an imaginary meeting point.
Where does an idea come from? Is it the sum of many other ideas? Is it always borrowed or stolen? The artist insists on a practice that is as much conceptual as it composed – cast in questions just as much it is made of plaster, jesmonite, resin or fibreglass: Is an artwork always the divisible sum of its parts or can it become so cooked that you lose sight of its origin? Can a hybrid of two things become something new? A synthetic?
After the inquiry, what remains is the object: gleaming white curves, acute angles and high arches. The artist chooses the V&A portrait for its decorative base, Frink’s Riding Man for its tall legs, and Moore for its smooth enormous lines. The end is formal – that same goal as 100 years previously: finding a point between figure and abstraction, counter-point and balance. The citations are not a critique but an act of camaraderie.
Nick Hornby lives and works in London. He has been recently shortlisted for the 2010 inaugural Spitalfields Sculpture Prize. In 2009, he was described by ES Magazine as “The New Gormley” and picked for the Evening Standard “Who to Watch, 2010”. Recent projects include, ‘Walking in Our Mind’ at the South Bank Centre, and ‘The Ghost in the Machine’ at the Tate Britain Triennial exhibition, Altermodern. Prizes include the Clifford Chance Sculpture Prize, the Deidre Hubbard Sculpture Award, the BlindArt Prize. He was also shortlisted for the Mark Tanner Sculpture Prize chosen by Guest Selector Cornelia Parker.
Alexia Goethe Gallery