Churner and Churner is pleased to present the first solo U.S. exhibition of British sculptor Nick Hornby. “Sculpture (1504-2013)” brings together three new works by the artist, each of which circumnavigate his enquiry into citation and abstraction.
In The Present Is Just a Point, Michelangelo’s David has been extruded to a single point. Standing 9-ft tall and made from half a ton of 150-micron marble dust, the apotheosis of human perfection is reduced to zero, the impeccable curves and relaxed contrapposto of David stretched to their endpoint. The horizontal extrusion is stood erect balancing on its tip, supported by a boulder in the same way historic figures are braced by adjacent rocks or conveniently placed tree trunks. In an inversion of the process of carving (removing) to a gesture of modeling (adding), Hornby commissioned a traditional stone carver from Carrera, Italy, to come to London and model a rock in terracotta at his studio.
David’s face appears in a second work, this time mirrored upon itself at a degree angle to make a new compound face. The result is an anamorphosis, the face skewed so severely that it is recognizable only from an acute angle. This Pinocchioesque head is suspended in a bronze cage, much like that of Giacometti’s Nose. In both the resin and bronze versions, the profile becomes an unsettling moment of aggression, not quite the gun-shaped sculpture of Giacometti, but a startling disfiguration of beauty.
Finally, Hornby departs from his more typical gleaming white curves with nine photographs. Hornby has digitally manipulated Matisse’s The Backs (1909-31) in order to extrapolate hypothetical future iterations beyond Matisse’s works, themselves a progression further and further into abstraction as the modeling of flesh gave way to geometric forms. In Hornby’s simplification, the relationship between figure and ground, already at stake in Matisse’s production, falls away, and the compromised forms collapse not into difference but repetition. Unlike the exclamation point of The Present Is Just a Point, the grammatical comparison here would be the ellipses, a subtle fade to black. The trickster makes this world.
Nick Hornby is a British artist living and working in London, England. He has exhibited in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Greece, and India, including Tate Britain, Southbank Centre, Fitzwilliam Museum, United Kingdom; Eyebeam, New York; and The Hub, Athens Greece. His most recent exhibition, with Sinta Tantra, was at One Canary Wharf in 2013. Hornby was a 2011 artist in residence at Eyebeam, New York. Other residencies include the ICIA (Mumbai), and theFleischmann Foundation (Slovakia). He has been awarded several Prizes including the Clifford Chance Sculpture Prize, RBKC Artists’ Professional Development Bursary, the Deidre Hubbard Sculpture Award, and the BlindArt Prize; and he was shortlisted for the inaugural Spitalfields Sculpture Prize and the Mark Tanner Sculpture Prize. His work has been featured on Artforum.com, Wired, Conde Naste Traveler, and Out, among others. He has a special commission permanently sited at the Andaz 5th Avenue, New York, and the Poznan-Lawica Airport, Poland, as part of the 2012 Third Mediations Biennale. Hornby’s work will be on view at the Museum of Art and Design, New York, in the exhibition “Out of Hand: Materializing the Post-Digital,” from October 14, 2013 through July 6, 2014.