For his debut exhibition with Hauser and Wirth, Thomas Houseago filled the two vast galleries on Savile Row with equally monumental figures, relief wall panels and abstract, columnar lamps. The monumentalism of his imposing figures, gathered together in the North Gallery and looming through the plate glass windows was, however, belied by their tender fragility.
Houseago works in traditional, low-grade materials including plaster, hemp, graphite and iron rebar before recasting in bronze. The structural components of his final works are left visible. The iron rebar which forms the skeleton of each figure can be seen through gaping wounds in its plaster skin and the artist's own handprint is visible in the shaping and carving of the sculpture's surface. The performative act of Houseago's sculpting is emphasised and although the artist looks back to art history these figures deconstruct Renaissance sculptural form. Their brute machismo is in decline.
Thomas Houseago I'll be your sister
Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row, North Gallery
Thomas Houseago Special Brew
Hauser & Wirth London, Savile Row, South Gallery
7 September - 27 October 2012