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Monumental sculptures by artist Nick Hornby at Glyndebourne Festival 2017
Nick Hornby, Muse Offcut #1, 2017, Bronze, 400 x 120 x 100 cm, Edition of 3 + 2, courtesy the Artist and Travis Hansson Fine Art.


LEWES.- Glyndebourne nnounces Sculpture (1504-2017), a solo presentation of new monumental works by British sculptor Nick Hornby. The collaboration, a first between Glyndebourne and the artist, coincides with the 2017 summer season of opera and will remain on display until August 27th 2017.

Sculptures are on display in the gardens and the house. In each piece Hornby has hybridised key historic artworks. Visitors to Glyndebourne may recognise in Hornby’s work fragments of Michelangelo, Rodin, Brancusi and Matisse.

Hornby's works are meeting points between digital technologies and the legacies of sculpture, alongside an astute critique of art history. His sculptures are created through complex processes, involving both high-tech production methods and traditional handcrafted techniques. Both the computer and hand are put to use to create large-scale silhouettes and extruded forms in bronze, marble or resin. These art works provide shifting perspectives and viewpoints (both physical and metaphorical) of the art object, and the histories it is tied to.

Several of the works relate to the subject of portraiture. A rust-covered corten bust is derived from a single leaf found in a 1951 Matisse Cut-Out, the resultant shape folds upon itself and is Baroque in character. Carved in Carrera Marble, a large cubist-like head uses three eighteenth-century busts on view at the Victoria and Albert Museum in London - key figures in art history (patron, artist and muse) as starting points. Another from the series is cast in bronze and stands four metres tall.

Hornby models his chosen subjects digitally, overlapping them to create composite virtual objects that reveal and play with the forms and associations of each bust. Carved by computer automated machines, cast by hand and professionally fabricated, the busts’ very production, complicates the relationship between authorship and craftsmanship, and assembles a whole cast of characters as a means to question the extent to which the artist has ever been the sole proprietor of creation.

Other works relate to the tradition of figurate sculpture. In the landscape, the silhouette of a standing man (Rodin's The Age of Bronze ) has been shaped into a slender abstract sculpture (Brancusi’s Bird in Space). In this work Hornby explores the narrative between Brancusi and the plinth, and the placement of modern sculpture in the landscape in order to “step off the pedestal.” Hornby has used industrial processes force the figure into the shape of Brancusi’s abstract sculpture.

In The Present Is Just a Point, on view in the Organ Room, Michelangelo’s famous sculpture of David has been extruded to a single point. Standing 9-ft tall and comprised of half a ton of 150-micron marble dust, the apotheosis of human perfection is reduced to zero, and the impeccable curves and relaxed contraposto are stretched to their endpoint. The horizontal extrusion is upturned and seems to balance on its very tip; but a boulder supports its weight allowing it to pivot upright. Rather than shipping a boulder from a quarry, Hornby commissioned a traditional stone carver from Carrera, Italy, to come to London and model a rock in terracotta at his studio. The perverse humour of modelling rather than carving something that could have been quite easily found is also echoed in the nod to the fragility of single point perspective.

Situated by the lake, God Bird Drone also extrudes the outline of Michelangelo’s David; at over 12 feet, the sculpture converges at a single point. The silhouette of David’s canonical and classical body lies horizontal, flush with the ground, visible only from above, by birds, gods, and drones. The figurative perfection of Michelangelo’s sculpture is juxtaposed against Platonic ideals of geometry, with David’s body repositioned in the contemporary moment, where the technologies of satellites and drones bring new viewpoints to these relationships.

Accompanying the sculpture is a video of the work shot from above by a surveillance drone. The sculpture designed specifically for this bird's-eye view, and as such inverts the 'man on a plinth' monument, which is traditionally viewed from below. The video will be available on YouTube, accessible via smart-phones, and disseminated by social media, revealing Michelangelo’s outline dropped like a Google pin (the hallmark of contemporary travel) in the landscape.

Drawing together historical artefacts and contemporary and traditional production processes, Hornby's works establish an expansive and complicated network of production, labour, representation and interpretation.

Hornby says: "This stunning Jacobean house is powered by a modern wind turbine. Its an inspiring juxtaposition - the classic geometries of England Renaissance architecture alongside the smooth and curvilinear rotor blades of the turbine. The pieces I’m bringing to Glyndebourne are about art history and narratives, but also, form and engineering.”

Gus Christie, Executive Chairman of Glyndebourne, said: “Hornby is a young sculptor whose interest across art, architecture and music is expressed in these stunning sculptures.”






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