William Benington Gallery is pleased to announce a solo installation by Luke Hart. This will be the largest and most ambitious single installation that we have had in the gallery to date. It is the artist’s first solo show with the gallery.
“All art is quite useless”
Oscar Wilde - The Picture of Dorian Gray
WALL is a single sculpture that fills and interrupts the gallery, forcing the gallery-visitor to engage physically with both the artwork and the exhibition space. This relationship between his sculptures and their surroundings is an on going concern of Hart’s practice. As a viewer we are impressed by the very mass of the sculpture, gravity appears to pull heavily upon it dragging it and distorting it as it twists to fill the space. There is a sense that Hart has pushed his sculpture right to the edge of its structural limitations, but ultimately has retained just enough control to hold it from the edge of collapse.
In a very real sense, Hart is wrestling with the capabilities of the production and engineering knowhow available to him, going so far as to invent new techniques. Since 2011 he has been developing his distinctive joining method, a vivid orange organic tangle of toughened rubber tendrils, that allows just enough flex while also giving his sculptures structural stability. Each of these joints is crafted in Hart’s London studio. The initial moulds are carved by hand, he then uses a self designed injection-moulding system to force the rubber into the moulds. Each stage of the process is overseen by the artist to ensure that his exacting standards are maintained throughout.
Ultimately Luke Hart’s practice represents a meeting point between the sculptural and the functional – that is not to say, necessarily, useful or practical. His sculptures exist beyond simple aesthetic or even representational concerns, they are without metaphor; their functionality challenges the idea of the traditional 'art-object', or perhaps their artistic endeavour is their function. In this instance, function is about more than use-value. There is a sense of the word, that the physical action performed by an object, can be said to be its function, even if that action is as simple as leaning or flexing.
WALL is a bold statement of artistic intent, it is an examination the sculptors' dual roles as artist and maker, and it confronts the assumed knowledge of the purpose of art, but in the end it is also a wall. It is a barrier, a separator of us and them, an obstacle to be scaled. It is a challenge. Perhaps, after all, it is a metaphor?