Art in Winchester House reception
Keith Tyson, born 1969 Lancashire, UK
12 Harmonics, 2011, Mixed media on aluminium
Keith Tyson’s twelve-part painting, 12 Harmonics, overflows with ideas, theories and other ways to explore the world. The Harmonics Theory formula is chalked out on the blackboard in panel nine, but that is only one among many keys to this polyptych. The artist does not believe in the exalted altarpiece positioning of art. Art is part of everyday reality. One learns from this picture as one learns from life. Click here to see the making of this work.
Anish Kapoor, born 1954, Mumbai, India
Turning the World Upside Down III, 1996, Stainless steel
Anish Kapoor’s art encourages questions about the origins of world. His recurrent theme of the void has made this clear. Turning the World Upside Down III, 1996 is like a great beached scientific model of the void and the world. The curved steel in the void of the sculpture reflects back on itself, doubling the image and turning everything upside down. It almost stands as a warning of the fragility of ideas.
Tony Cragg, born 1949, Liverpool, UK Secretions, 1998, Thermo plastic and fibreglass
Tony Cragg, the son of an electrical designer for aircraft, was the accepted leader of a group of artists who emerged at the very beginning of the eighties, called the New British Sculptors. He came to art through the unusual route of scientific training. Secretions is made of dice, but its subject explores the structure of the universe rather than the expected, gambling. The title refers to the act of transformation: old forms secreting to make the new order. ‘It will become necessary to find a language to describe the invisible, the inaudible, the unsmellable or the untouchable.’
Damien Hirst, born 1965, Bristol, UK
Biotin-Maleimide, 1995, Household paint on canvas
‘Art doesn’t purport to have all the answers; the drug companies do. Hence the title of the series, The Pharmaceutical Paintings and the individual titles of the paintings themselves,’ says Hirst as an explanation of his spot paintings, of which Biotin–Maleimide, 1995, is one. Pills and spots have been a recurring theme. He used to tease curators that he wished to do a museum show of just spot paintings. The grid-like structure created by the spots is part of a system and in each painting no two colours are the same. ‘They’re about the urge, or the need to be a painter, above and beyond the object of a painting…I’ve often said that they are like sculptures of paintings.’
Annelies Štrba, born 1947, Zug, Switzerland
Les cathédrales de Monnaie, 2002, Photograph
Štrba works extensively with video. Deutsche Bank’s series of still photographs is taken from a New York video with a droll Mel Brooks style title - Les Cathédrales de Monnaie. Though the play on Claude Monet’s name might have light-hearted as well as serious connotations, this a thorough update of the Impressionist’s style and in particular his successive studies of the effects of light on the great façade of the Cathedral at Rouen. Štrba exhibited this series at the Fondation Beyeler in 2002 under the title, Claude Monet ... bis zum digitalen Impressionismus (Claude Monet ... up to Digital Impressionism). The way its fuzzy pixels build up to make a picture show how far Impressionism has influenced the way we see, or at least how well early Modernist artists understood the way we see. The subject matter has changed rather dramatically: instead of Monet’s Haystacks, Poplars or Gothic Cathedrals, the twenty-first century artist uses Manhattan money temples to explore light effects.
Ken Kiff, born 1935, Essex, UK – died 2001, London
Drawing a Curtain, 1980, Oil on canvas
Ken Kiff’s vibrant artworks sprang directly from his imagination and from the painting and print making processes themselves. His work is often lyrical but can also be menacing and is equally dependent on colour and his own, very personal iconography. The paintings are concerned with shapes and the shaping action of the hand, and how one shape can modulate into another, acquire or change an identity, gain limb, body, face, expression, then lose it again. ‘The hill is yellow now. But if it stayed yellow,’ Kiff said, ‘it might not stay a hill; and if it stayed a hill, it might not stay yellow’.