To mark the 60th anniversary of the birth of British artist Helen Chadwick [1953-1996] , Richard Saltoun Gallery is presenting her first solo exhibition for almost 10 years.
Helen Chadwick was one of the most important British artists to emerge in the 1980s and in 1987, one of the first woman artists to be nominated for the Turner Prize. Chadwick’s innovative and provocative use of a rich variety of materials, such as flesh, flowers, chocolate and fur, was hugely influential on a younger generation of British artists. Her strongly associative and visceral images were intended to question gender representation and the nature of desire.
Her influence on the YBAs, as much through her attitude as by her works, was cemented through her teaching posts at the Royal College of Art, Chelsea School of Art and the London Institute. Her sudden death in 1996 from heart failure stunned the art world and put an end to a prolific artist at the apex of her career.
This exhibition presents a selection of photographs and sculptures from 1982-1994, with over 20 works on display. Throughout the two gallery spaces there will be key works such as Meat Abstracts 1989, Wreaths of Pleasure, 1992-3 Ego Geometria Sum, 1982-4 and Piss Flowers, 1991-92, among others. Piss Flowers (1991-92), is one of her most recognisable works where she cast the interior spaces left by her partner David Notarius and her, pissing in the snow. The work is both repulsive and beautiful, and it is this combination that typifies Chadwick’s work: aesthetic beauty created out of an alliance of unconventional, often vile, materials.
British conceptual artist Helen Chadwick embraced the sensuous aspects of the natural world, breaking taboos of the “normal” and “traditional” in art historical pedagogy. Her influence upon a young generation of British artists was cemented through her teaching posts at the Royal College of Art, Chelsea School of Art and the London Institute.
Her experiments with material were innovative and unconventional and captured a world in a state of flux. Piss Flowers (1991-92), in which she cast the interior spaces left in the snow by warm urine, are at once revulsive as they are beautiful, and it this combination that typifies Chadwick’s work: aesthetic beauty created out of an alliance of unconventional, often vile, materials.
Nominated for the Turner Prize in 1987 her work is included in the Tate Collection as well as the collections of the Victoria & Albert Museum and the Museum of Modern Art, NY.
Helen CHADWICK 20 May – 28 June 2013 Richard Saltoun Gallery
Photo: Helen CHADWICK I Thee Wed, 1993 Photo: Courtesy Richard Saltoun Gallery