LONDON.- Dulwich Picture Gallery
presents a monumental installation in its grounds to coincide with Andy Warhol: The Portfolios, The Bank of America Collection. The Four Seasons, a set of four fifteen-foot fibreglass sculptures by American artist and film-maker Philip Haas, is the first ever public display of all four works and continues the Gallerys commitment to displaying contemporary sculpture.
In a spectacular transformation that is typical of his work, Philip Haas has created a group of large-scale sculptures, inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldos renaissance paintings of the four seasons, comprising Spring, Summer, Autumn and Winter. The colossal size of Haass sculpture accentuates the visual puzzle of natural forms - flowers, ivy, moss, fungi, vegetables, fruit, trees, bark, branches, twigs - as they are recycled to form four human portraits, each representing an individual season. The result is at once grotesque, earthy, and exuberant.
Giuseppe Arcimboldos eccentric, yet scientifically accurate, paintings of composite heads in profile were popular in the 16th century and then again in the 20th, when they were rediscovered by the Surrealists. Haass 21stcentury reinterpretation has taken these beguiling paintings and brought them into the natural world. The idea of Arcimboldo in three dimensions is intriguing as the paintings are all in profile so the face-on view is something the viewer would never have seen.
The first work, Winter, was made in 2010 and was exhibited to great acclaim at the National Gallery of Art, Washington, D.C., before travelling in 2011 to the Piazza del Duomo in Milan and the Garden of Versailles.
Ian Dejardin, Sackler Director of Dulwich Picture Gallery said: Visitors to the Gallery in this Olympic summer will be greeted by I confidently believe the most astonishing photo opportunity of a very photogenic year. The presence of these monumental 3-dimensional interpretations of some of the most extraordinary trompe loeuil paintings ever made, in the Gallerys grounds, seen against the backdrop of the equally monumental yet diminutive Dulwich Picture Gallery, should induce a frenzy of camera activity: the lemon round Winters neck is the size of a small child.
Philip Haas said: I started the Four Seasons project wanting to bring Arcimboldos sixteenth century nature imagery intothe twenty-first century physical world. I cant think of a better venue than the garden of Dulwich Picture Gallery to inaugurate the tour, where the sculptures will stand in juxtaposition with the old master collection, uncertain whether they should climb back inside the museum -- or flee!
Haass exhibition of film installations at the Kimbell Art Museum, Butchers, Dragons, Gods and Skeletons, was listed by TIME magazine as one of the top ten museum shows of 2009. Retrospectives of his art films have been held at Tate, London; the Centre Georges Pompidou, Paris; Lincoln Center, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston; and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for this body of work.
His feature film Angels and Insects (1995), set in Victorian England, was nominated for an Academy Award and the Cannes Film Festival Palme dOr. Other feature films include The Music of Chance (1993), adapted from the Paul Auster novel, and Up at the Villa (2000), starring Sean Penn, Anne Bancroft, Derek Jacobi and Kristin Scott Thomas. He has had solo shows of paintings, sculpture and film installations at the Sonnabend Gallery, New York and Robilant + Voena, London.
After Dulwich Picture Gallery all four works will be setting sail on a two year tour of US botanical gardens and museums, including Desert Botanical Garden, Phoenix, The New York Botanical Garden and Atlanta Botanical Garden.