BERLIN.- The Buchmann Gallery
announces its first solo show of works by Des Hughes (*1970 in Birmingham); Hughes works were first featured by the gallery in the exhibition Crystal World in 2010.
The five sculptures, which were created specifically for this exhibition, are reminiscent of pieces of medieval armour and weaponry. The four rust-red, helmet-like objects and the ensemble of two larger-than-life figures dressed in chainmail appear on closer inspection to be too fragile and detailed to be made of forged iron.
The material is only 3mm thick, as becomes visible in the areas where the hollow interior of the sculpture is revealed. In a complex process, Hughes shapes woollen scarves, woollen hats and plaster bandages and casts them in resin reinforced with fibreglass and iron powder. The resulting sculptures are simultaneously powerful and surprisingly fragile.
Like the language of his materials, the shapes Hughes uses have a deep ambivalence: a tree stump is not made of wood, the chainmail shirt is not iron and a mask is a sock. Des Hughes creates a narrative and ironic figuration which develops its very own, distinctive and highly recognisable pictorial language.
Des Hughes works have been shown in solo exhibitions at Manchester Art Gallery, and in group exhibitions, including CAPC Musée dArt Contemporain Bordeaux and Camden Arts Centre, London. The Hepworth Wakefield is planning a solo show in 2014.