Don’t Miss – Ile de Vassiviere, France: Thomas Houseago at Centre International d’art et du Paysage through October 23, 2011

October 21st, 2011

Thomas Houseago, Lying Figure (Mother Father) 2011. Via Art & Architecture Journal Press.

On Vassivière Island, What Went Down is Thomas Houseago‘s first exclusively sculpture exhibition in France, at The Centre International d’art et due Paysage de L’ile de Vassivière. Both the building and its surroundings are filled with large, monumental sculptures inspired by the Vassivière landscape. Curated by Chiara Parisi, the artist creates with plaster, bronze, and wood, applying traditional ‘high-art’ materials to sprawling, awkward, masculine forms. Houseago has described his work as unskilled, saying “I could talk for hours about Michel Foucault, but I couldn’t draw. So I feel like I’m in a punk band. I’m completely unskilled. I feel like I just have to do it.”

Thomas Houseago, Large Lamp I (Snake Island) (2011). Via AAJP

More text and images after the jump…

Thomas Houseago, Baby (2009–10). Via The Guardian

By placing the sculptures throughout the museum and its grounds, What Went Down forces visitors to feel and experience the work as it comes into their own personal space. The sheer size of Houseago’s sculptures impress a vulnerability onto the viewer, yet in their imperfections, the sculptures themselves are also vulnerable, perhaps even self-conscious and human-like. Baby, with the face of a ‘Day of the Dead’ skull, crouches ready to take its first steps. The white of the body is aggressive and hard; there is no warmth to the child.

Thomas Houseago, Rattlesnake Figure (2011). Via e-flux.

Houseago currently lives and works in Los Angeles though he was born in the United Kingdom and studied at London’s Central St. Martins College of Art and Design. His work has been displayed in numerous museums including the Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago, Contemporary Fine Arts, Berlin, and the Modern Institute, Glasgow, and his statues were featured in the Whitney Museum of American Art’s 2010 Biennale. Most recently, his large sculpture Hermaphrodite (2o11) sold for a reported $425,000 at the Frieze Art Fair 2011.

Thomas Houseago, Golden Spoon (2010). Via AAJP

Thomas Houseago, Large Lamp II (Snake Island) (2011). Via AAJP

– G. Linden

Related links:

The Centre International d’art et due Paysage de L’ile de Vassivière [Exhibition Site]
Thomas Houseago and Aaron Curry [W Magazine]
Lonely Americans [ArtNet]