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29.01.2014 INTERVIEW

Richard Hughes, 2014. Foto: Lukas Flygare.

Stories of after the toy shops close

The show Scene Inbetween by British artist Richard Hughes (b. 1974) opened last friday at Nils Stærk. As the artist explains it, his sculptures are “Taking on a life of its own, almost like the stories of after the toy shops close, things coming to life”. The quote somehow sums up the works displayed at the show, but while being playful and at times figurative, his sculptures possesses a certain feel of demolish, questioning the rejection of objects and urban spaces that surrounds us. But while being recognizable objects, the works are done down to smallest detail in e.g. plaster and styrofoam. I was lucky to visit Richard Hughes at the gallery, while he was finishing up the last things, and talk about the exhibition.

AF Lukas Flygare

NILS STÆRK
Ny Carlsberg Vej 68, 1760 København V, W: nilsstaerk.dk
Scene Inbetween
Richard Hughes
01.02.2014 - 15.03.2014

“I’ve made things, and still do, that look like objects you could chance upon - there is an element that it could just be a coincidence that they take on this appearance." 

"And I sort of know where to draw the line - how much you manipulate them and how much you hold back. They tend to suggest an environment without having to literally construct this environment in the gallery. The objects sometimes suggests those spaces. But at the same time, there is a formal concern coming where they take on the qualities of sculptural objects you might expect to see in a gallery.”

“(The sculptures) they are sort of like suggestions. I don’t really wanna be producing work where you need to know all the references in order to understand the work. So I can take on slight traces of these objects.”

“This work currently in bits (picture below) are based on a piece of wooden puzzle. I guess the relevance of these puzzles is the sort of formal qualities of them. The idea that they are something involved in just killing time. It’s something that I’ve referred to in my work - pieces I have made where there has been bicycle tiers trapped on things. They suggest these kind of anonymous gestures of someone just does it for people to pass by. That notion - killing time or time passing - is a reference. Within a space they transforms somehow.”

“The sculptures are 1:1. I can play with scale in other ways, so that the objects stay the life size. The lampposts are based on 1950’s concrete lampposts you see all around. The scale is tweaked slightly so I can enhance, suggest the legs slightly more and manipulate them, but not to a point where it becomes obvious. To retain the idea that it could be found objects - to use that notion.”

“The amount of manipulation can sometime be figurative like the fist-piece (picture below). It’s like the trash you would see after a market, but then this potentially powerful symbol is reduce to nothing really. It becomes something rejected, on the outskirts of usability.”

Scene Inbetween is a couple of things really. It refers to suggesting a space through the objects, but I’ve always been interested in when things are in a state between. Like adolescence and adulthood, things being useful and useless, urban spaces that are on the  point of collapse, that were once sort of an ideal but then, by time and the way they get used, they get reduced.”

“Once the things are finished, we can start to move around and see the dialogue between the works themselves and how we use the space - how your eye follows around the space. That can often be a way to work on how we curate the thing, it’s how your eye move around. Then you can control how people see things or not. With some of the works there is no denying that it is a pair of striving legs, but at other times you can control that moment when its revealed. So you don’t see everything straight away, but it takes some kind of exploration around the work, and to see them in three-dimension to find these little elements, these reference points.”

Thank you 

Richard Hughes: Scene Inbetween (Installation view), 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Richard Hughes: Scene Inbetween (Installation view), 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

Richard Hughes: Scene Inbetween (Installation view), 2014. Foto: Erling Lykke Jeppesen.

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