Guy Haddon Grant is one of Britain’s most important young sculptors. His aesthetically fascinating works are inspired by natural organic forms and the human figure. With works made from treasuries of raw substances, including charcoal, plaster, stone, bronze, and wood, material is paramount to the artist’s most powerful means of expression.
The exhibition, comprising sculptures and drawings, attests to the ever-intensifying dexterity with which Haddon Grant employs his materials, ideas, and form. It teems with contrasts with reference to the ephemeral quality of time and space, emptiness and visibility, and ideas of presence.
Haddon Grant’s sculptures are highly compelling, elaborate masses of effervescent cloud formations. While it is photography that allows us to perceive phenomena that escapes the human eye, Haddon Grant’s remarkable work presents a moment in which clouds of smoke float suspended in the air, rising from fissures deep within. The artist’s sculpture immortalises a moment in time, allowing for an infinitely long observation of this event.
The artist’s formative years were spent in Florence, Italy, where the idea of his sculptures arose. The unfinished vitality of the Academia and the twisting energy of the Rape of the Sabines resides in the artist’s mind when he was making the cloud totems. The sensuous nature of the body has become an undercurrent here, informing the visceral abstractions of the form.
The artist’s use of monochrome is as conceptual as it is stylistic. Haddon Grant’s use of charcoal and soot as a pigment is compelling as it brings forth strong emotions while conveying mass and form to the ‘void’. The black and the white signify the spatial abstraction of sculpture. It dismantles expectations for figuration and goes so far as to remove the solid object altogether. The artist’s white sculptures appear as allusions to the silk-white ashes left over from the dust and debris of a great fire or volcanic eruption. In the history of art, meanwhile, white is associated with the purity and neo-classical sculptures of the past.
The artist’s drawings are an additional layer to the richly layered visual anachronism. Haddon Grant treats the drawings as a performative act in response to the movement of the candle as it flickers. Rather than direct mark making with a pencil to paper, the artist coaxes the soot - tilting the paper this way or that, seeing what it has done and responding. The soot is an impression of a presence that has been; carbon is the shadow of volatile compounds from the burning light. These raw materials constituted the mediums used from centuries ago in the cave paintings, the dead sea scrolls and the ancient Egyptian art of the past.
Harnessing and transforming the vitality of our atmosphere, then steeping it in a sense of our own sense of time and space, Haddon Grant captures a much darker and more complex story, fit with our times.
We look forward to welcoming you to the exhibition and invite you to enjoy the sight of these paintings, on view for a limited time, in the heart of Mayfair, London.