Une seconde vie #1, 2017
Edition 1 of 3
If you have visited the Museum in the last few weeks you will have noticed a sculpture in the Christopher Bradley-Hole garden. The sculpture is by British Sculptor Nick Hornby, entitled Une seconde vie #1.
Its shape is derived from a Cutout of a leaf by Henri Matisse from 1951. During the last decade of his life Henri Matisse became increasingly unwell from cancer and was physically restricted to his bedroom-studio. There he developed his now famous method of cutting out – using only white paper and gouache and a pair of scissors.
Hornby explains the inspiration behind the piece: “Matisse was too unwell to leave his room – he wanted to bring the garden indoors and so made cutout after cutout of leaves. Matisse transformed paint and paper into a world of plants, animals, figures, and shapes. One leaf cutout stood out as making a face – which I used to form this sculpture.”
Hornby’s sculptures emerge from the convergence of a postmodern historical perspective and cutting-edge digital technology. Using computer software, Hornby combines silhouettes sourced from art history to create three-dimensional works that, as the viewer moves around them, seem to take the shape of different well-known sculptures of the past.
Hornby’s use of traditional materials like bronze and corten, highlights the craftsmanship behind his works, which, while maintaining the look of a computer-generated model, are nevertheless hand-crafted. Mining the collective index of cultural history, Hornby uses technology not just to invoke potential new worlds but as a way of investigating alternative ways of seeing history.
British artist Nick Hornby, born in 1980, has received degrees from the Slade School of Art at the University College London and the Chelsea School of Art. He has exhibited in the UK, the US, Switzerland, Greece, and India, including Tate Britain, Southbank Centre, and The Fitzwilliam Museum in the UK; and Eyebeam and The Museum of Arts and Design in New York. His work has been reviewed in the New York Times, Frieze, Artforum, and featured in Dazed, Wired, and Time Out, among others.