20 October 2018 â€“ 6 January 2019
20 October 2018 â€“ 6 January 2019
The Quick & the Dead: Hambling – Horsley – Lucas – Simmons – Teller marks the culmination of Jerwood Gallery’s sixth year of operation, our first full year as a charity and as an Arts Council England National Portfolio Organisation. In this exhibition five ground-breaking artists have come together to explore and celebrate artists’ relationships and how that manifests in portraiture and the self-portrait. The exhibition’s title comes from the Bible, in which the sins of both the quick (living) and the dead are said to be judged by God. While four of the artists are still ‘quick’, Sebastian Horsley is tragically no longer alive to create new work.
Maggi Hambling, Self-portrait, 2018, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 121.92 cm
We are delighted to be holding the first major public gallery exhibition of this extraordinary group of artists, exhibiting new work created in a range of media including painting, drawing, sculpture and photography. Exhibiting work by such innovative and at times controversial artists as Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley, Sarah Lucas, Julian Simmons and Juergen Teller reflects our commitment to nurturing artistic practice and our belief and trust in artists. Liz Gilmore, Director Victoria Howarth, Exhibitions Curator Jerwood Gallery
THE QUICK & THE DEAD By James Cahill
The Quick & the Dead originated in a chance encounter at the Colony Room Club in 2005. Maggi Hambling and Sarah Lucas, both regulars at the Dean Street establishment (for sixty years the haunt of artists, writers and drifters of all kinds), were celebrating their birthdays, unaware that these fell on the same date. The two artists were introduced by their mutual friend Sebastian Horsley, who with his sparkling suits and towering hair was part of Soho’s nightly scenery at that time. Their meeting marked the beginning of an enduring friendship. In time, Hambling and Lucas came to depict one another. The exhibition bears witness to the artistic and personal encounters that spiralled out of that first meeting. It centres on the portraits Hambling has made of Horsley, Lucas, Lucas’s partner Julian Simmons, and the photographer Juergen Teller. The four living artists (Horsley died in 2010) have depicted Hambling in turn. Each artist is variously the subject and maker – or, in a gallery of self-portraits, both at once. Magi, made by Lucas in 2012, is a representation of a female body – specifically of Hambling – out of a set of found objects. Suspended from a wire, the yawning orifice of an upended toilet bowl is surmounted by two lightbulbs looped over a skirt hanger, their wires trailing onto the floor. It is a basic, blunt assemblage that recalls some of Lucas’s seminal early installations (Bitch, 1995, for example, which conjured a female nude in the form of a scruffy table with a t-shirt stretched across it, filled with two melons, and a vacuumpacked fish nailed to the rear end).
Yet in its purity of white materials and verticality of form, Magi is also startlingly elegant. There is an ambiguity about the figure, belied by the ordinariness of its parts. The way that the toilet bowl hangs, turning fractionally in the air like the plate of a Calder mobile, causes the body itself to swivel between brazenness and a more evasive (almost coy) stance. Depending on the angle it is viewed from, the toilet bowl confronts us with an open hole, or rotates to present its smooth porcelain shell. The electric breasts, too, express both blazing power (what Lucas has elsewhere called “Power in Woman”) and the white-hot vulnerability of exposure. These dualities say much about Hambling herself, who has often quoted the advice given to her by Victor Musgrave: “You must have a backbone of steel and yet remain utterly vulnerable to your subject.” A sense of steely vulnerability inheres in the hard, bright, suspended elements of Magi. The work is defined by a slippage between moods or states, just as it hangs mid-air, poised between levitation and slumping collapse. The title itself is a slippage that mirrors the sculpture’s more general traversal of the particular (the literal objects that make it up, the specific subject of Hambling) and the universal: Maggi has transmuted into Magi, a misspelling that introduces incongruous associations to the readymade nude, of adoring wise men or T.S. Eliot’s “long journey: / The ways deep and the weather sharp, / The very dead of winter.” Hambling reciprocated in 2013 with two portraits of Lucas. The first is a small canvas painted from life in Hambling’s Suffolk studio. Lucas is
Sarah Lucas, Magi, 2012, coat hanger, lightbulbs, steel wire, electric cable, toilet bowl, 180 x 45 x 45 cm
gulf between the artist and her work, a gulf that Lucas has herself frequently acknowledged, remarking, for instance, that: “I think my works, particularly my sculptures, are true to themselves, to materials: that’s what really matters. In sculpture, more so than in painting, materials want to do what they want to do. […] I don’t want to make it feel like I’m imposing a meaning or that I am preaching anything. I like to be true to what the thing is.”
captured in close-up – her head framed by a knitted red scarf, a fragment of shoulder, and the watery shadow cast by her hair. Her expression is contemplative, seemingly caught between attention and inattention. Her gaze appears directed (aimed at the artist and viewer) but also abstracted, as if retreating into itself. In the process of being ‘captured’ she remains elusive. Sarah Lucas, II is, by contrast, a painting of ‘Lucas as sculptor’. Her familiar materials – marrows, stuffed nylon breasts, cast concrete boots, a disk-like fried egg – rise up in a bonfire heap, culminating in a phallic pinnacle that seems to have materialised out of wisps of smoke. As did Lucas in Magi, Hambling dissolves the categories of ‘portraiture’ and ‘still life’: Lucas is symbolised by her own yet-to-be-arranged stuff, just as in Chardin’s painting The Attributes of Art (1766), casual clutter is what constitutes the artist. A painting of Lucas’s face in sketchy black-andwhite – originally a separate work – has been grafted onto Hambling’s picture to form a painting within the painting. Lucas’s visage hovers apart from her own attributes, a side note. This perhaps says something about the necessary
Above: Maggi Hambling, Portrait of the artist Sarah Lucas I, 2013, oil on canvas, 53.34 x 43.18 cm Opposite: Maggi Hambling, Sarah Lucas, II, 2013, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 121.92 cm
A desire to pinpoint the essence of a thing is found also in Julian Simmons’s new portrait of Hambling. This represents her, metonymically, through her left eye, which is rendered as a bullseye target at the centre of a vortex of concentric graphite rings tinted with blush pink. Simmons’s work is the latest in a series of ‘orbicular drawings’ that he began in 2015. Each consists of between fifteen and thirty miles of graphite line, applied in thousands of revolutions with fluctuating pressure and density, to produce striations resembling the rings of Saturn or the spinning, eye-boggling Rotoreliefs of Marcel Duchamp – sleek kinetic precursors to Op Art. Simmons’s drawing moves – in an almost comically epic sweep – between infinite time as represented by the circular lines (rings of pure and endless light) and the particular, penetrating eye at the centre – Hambling’s eye – which punctures the cosmic abstraction of the drawing with its blue iris and bullet-hole pupil. Simmons’s work evokes the kind of friction between – or separation of – self and universe that Saul Bellow describes in his novel Humboldt’s Gift: “You have a great organized movement of life, and you have the single self, independently conscious, proud of its detachment and its absolute immunity, its stability and its power to remain unaffected by anything whatsoever”. Such detachment is illusory, of course – a self-sustaining fiction. Indeed, the seemingly impersonal or abstract aspects of Simmons’s drawing (compare Bellow’s “great organized movement of life” swirling around the “single self”) are imbued with pointed and personal reminders of Hambling’s work and persona: she radiates out into the composition. “When we
Opposite: Julian Simmons, MAGGI, 2018, graphite and pigment paint on paper, 114 x 83 cm Above: Maggi Hambling, Julian Simmons, tsunami whirlpool, 2013, oil on canvas (diptych), total measurement: 96.52 x 157.48 cm
saw her last she had rather a ruddy complexion,” Simmons recalls, explaining the pink coloration of the drawing: “so that’s where I went with it, and then of course there’s her dominant left eye.” He has compared the alternating black and white bands of the drawing to the waves of the sea – one of Hambling’s recurring subjects – as well as the thick black lines of her mascara. In a painting of Simmons made in 2013, Hambling produces an equivalent sense of the physical person and his ambient ‘force field’. Simmons appears bare-chested and smiling faintly against a shimmering accumulation of black, white and red brushstrokes – colours presciently close to those of his orbicular portrait. Just as in Simmons’s drawing Hambling stares out from the centre of an abstract radial field – albeit as a disembodied eye – Simmons here appears solitary, naked and Christ-like against a rising wall of colour, whose intricate mass of flecks and undulations bears an uncanny (if accidental) resemblance to his own digitally-generated sound compositions, as they appear on his computer screen. Hambling’s portrait of Simmons is juxtaposed, to form a diptych, with another painting that shows a tsunami whirlpool. Originally a separate work, Simmons studied this picture in Hambling’s studio during breaks from sitting. In the process, it became an integral part of her representation of him – at the same time as mirroring, by chance, the vortices of his own orbicular drawings. The juxtaposition of seascape/landscape and the naked body once again dismantles artistic categories: the body is figured as a kind of landscape, the self as a centrifugal torrent. The image of Christ, a vague presence in Hambling’s portrait of Simmons, was summoned overtly by Sebastian Horsley – the catalyst for the present exhibition – when he travelled to the Philippines in 2000 to take part in a ritual crucifixion for Easter. The trip was recorded on a handheld video camera by Sarah Lucas. Her film bears witness to the gruesome event of Horsley’s foot-support breaking: the weight of his body pulled the nails out of the cross and he fell semi-conscious to the ground.
Top: Sebastian Horsley, The Crucifixion Nails of Sebastian Horsley, 2003, edition of 10 pairs in sterling silver, 1/10, 29.21 x 25.4 cm Bottom: Stills from Sarah Lucas’s video of the crucifixion of Sebastian Horsley, Philippines, 2000
Opposite: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian in a Hermes scarf, 2004, charcoal on paper, 152.4 x 101.6 cm
Top: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley I, 2010, oil on canvas, 49.53 x 120.65 cm Above, left: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley II, 2010, oil on canvas, 30.48 x 40.64 cm Opposite: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley XI, 2011-12, oil on canvas, 121.92 x 91.44 cm
Above, right: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley III, 2010, oil on canvas, 30.48 x 40.64 cm
Above, left: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley IV, 2010, oil on canvas, 40.64 x 30.48 cm Above, right: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley V, 2011, oil on canvas, 30.48 x 25.4 cm
Opposite: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley VI, 2011, oil on canvas, 91.44 x 60.96 cm
Top: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley VIII, 2011, oil on canvas, 30.48 x 25.4 cm Bottom: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley VII, 2011, oil on canvas, 30.48 x 25.4 cm
Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley IX, 2011, oil on canvas, 53.34 x 43.18 cm
Above: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley X, 2011, oil on canvas, 30.48 x 25.4 cm Opposite: Maggi Hambling, Sebastian Horsley XII, 2012, oil on canvas, 53.34 x 43.18 cm
Horsley’s life was, according to Hambling, an elaborate rehearsal for death. He died from a drug overdose in 2010. Shortly afterwards, Hambling made a series of portraits – studies of his head that imagine him in various states of aliveness and death, from spry animation to crumbling decay. “Now pile your dust upon the quick and the dead”, says Laertes in Shakespeare’s Hamlet, ordering that earth be thrown onto Ophelia’s dead body as well as his own living (“quick”) one. In Hambling’s posthumous portrayals of Horsley, a similar sense of trying to get back to the dead person – overlaid with a recognition of their irretrievability – emerges from the grinning, gurning, hollow-eyed or dissolving faces. In one frieze-shaped canvas, Horsley’s Wildean attire unravels into a wave of crimson paint, then a blank space scrawled with the date of his death: presence drains into absence. Hambling’s paintings exploit the viscerality of their medium in this way to conjure a sense of presence or presentness, whether their subjects are dead or alive. The present-tense act of looking and being looked at is evoked in works by Hambling and Juergen Teller. A new photograph by Teller shows Hambling in her London studio as she drew him. It is the first photograph to show her at work. She stares out from behind an upright drawing board, her left eye meeting that of the viewer (the same eagle eye that hovers at the centre of Simmons’s drawing). Her intent gaze and the split structure of the image, in which the plywood board is a kind of threshold – half-hiding, half-revealing her – share something with Otto Dix’s Self-Portrait with Easel (1926). The artist’s stern face intimates many things – concentration, immersion in the act of making, and self-avowal mixed with a kind of defencelessness. In four charcoal drawings, Hambling depicts Teller from multiple angles and at different speeds. The two faster drawings highlight the way in which the act of looking is also an act of exclusion: fragments of Teller’s face reside within small concentrations of charcoal strokes. Juergen photographing me is a portrait of Teller distilled into a pair of eyes and glasses, half-effaced by his own camera – a mirror image of his photograph of Hambling.
Juergen Teller, Maggi Hambling No.1, London 2018, giclée print, 152.4 x 203.2 cm
Maggi Hambling, Juergen Teller, 2018, charcoal on paper, 60.96 x 48.26 cm
Maggi Hambling, Juergen looking down, 2018, charcoal on paper, 60.96 x 48.26 cm
Maggi Hambling, Juergen, eyes, 2018, charcoal on paper, 60.96 x 48.26 cm
Maggi Hambling, Juergen photographing me, 2018, charcoal on paper, 60.96 x 48.26 cm
The Quick & the Dead also features self-portraits by each of the artists, revealing how their visions of each other find parallels – or precedents – in their images of themselves. These include a new self-portrait by Hambling in which she emerges out of a swarm of brush marks against a white ground – seeming almost to be made out of paint. Teller’s Father and Son (2003) is a black-and-white photograph of the artist standing naked at his father’s grave, brandishing a beer bottle and football: a profane revel shades into a Baroque memento mori. In a new self-portrait, Lucas traces her image in cigarettes glued to brown paper. Her smiling face hovers above the motif of a skull, woven alike from chopped Marlboros – life rubs up against death. This work, in which the artist is once again constituted out of her very materials, is one of a long-running series of cigarette portraits, one of which (a small work offering a glimpse of her eyes on a torn scrap of paper) hung in the Colony Room Club until its closure in 2008. The Colony Room offers an analogy to the unlikely grouping of artists in this exhibition. The club played host to a motley crowd, diverse in personality, generation, background and reputation (“Don’t be dull and fucking boring” was the one rule, handed down from the club’s founder Muriel Belcher). Bridging ‘Old Soho’ and the art scene of the 1990s, it was always more of a crucible than a club in the typical sense. The artists in The Quick & the Dead seem, at first glance, just such a congeries. They belong in different curatorial boxes. In this respect, however, their portraits not only bear witness to their personal dynamics, but convey something of the breadth and ongoing potential of portraiture itself.
Sarah Lucas, In the words of Sexton Ming Just remember when you smile There’s a skull in there, 2018, brown paper, cigarettes, 140 x 200 cm
Julian Simmons, SELF-PORTRAIT, 2018, graphite and pigment paint on paper, 114 x 83 cm
Juergen Teller, Father and Son, Bubenreuth 2003, digital lightjet print, 127 x 177.8 cm
Rock-a-Nore Road Hastings Old Town East Sussex TN34 3DW Tel: +44 (0)1424 728377 Email: email@example.com Website: jerwoodgallery.org twitter.com/jerwoodgallery facebook.com/JerwoodGallery instagram.com/jerwoodgallery #QuickandtheDead Foreword ©Elizabeth Gilmore & Victoria Howarth Essay ©James Cahill All Maggi Hambling works ©Maggi Hambling photography by Douglas Atfield
Jerwood Gallery would like to thank Maggi Hambling, Sarah Lucas, Julian Simmons, Juergen Teller, and the late Sebastian Horsley, an extraordinary group of artists with a shared creative spirit, without which this exhibition would not have been possible. It has been a privilege to work with Maggi, Sarah, Julian and Juergen on this exhibition, and to be able to exhibit exciting new work by each artist. Special thanks to Hugh Monk for his tireless work on this exhibition, and to Frankie Rossi, John Erle-Drax, and the wider team at Marlborough Fine Art for all their support with the production of this catalogue. For his insightful essay in this publication, we thank James Cahill. Our grateful thanks to the designer, Patrick Morrissey, for his open, thoughtful approach; to BKT Printers; to Katie Lineker, Victoria Howarth and Liz Gilmore for their work on this publication, and Rowan Bunney, Kim Kish, Anna McCrickard, Esther McLaughlin, John Murray, Yaz Norris, and the wider Jerwood Gallery team for their contributions to this catalogue and exhibition. Thanks to the Jerwood Gallery’s revenue funders Arts Council England, Hastings Borough Council and the Jerwood Foundation. Thanks also to technicians Sam Pullen, Mike Newman, Glen Walker, Marie Roux, Daniel Cope-Stephens and Tom Penney for their commitment to this ambitious install.
All rights reserved This catalogue may not be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or any other information, storage or retrieval system without prior permission in writing from Jerwood Gallery.
Maggi Hambling: new portraits Marlborough Fine Art exhibition catalogue overleaf
All Sarah Lucas works ©Sarah Lucas, courtesy Sadie Coles HQ, London, photograph of In the words of Sexton Ming Just remember when you smile There’s a skull in there by Julian Simmons All Julian Simmons works ©Julian Simmons All Sebastian Horsley works © Sebastian Horsley photography by Douglas Atfield All Juergen Teller works ©Juergen Teller, all rights reserved Catalogue ©Jerwood Gallery 2018 Design by Patrick Morrissey / Unlimited Printed by BKT Published by Jerwood Gallery, 2018 in association with Marlborough Fine Art, London
Opposite: Maggi Hambling, Self-portrait, 2018, oil on canvas, 152.4 x 121.92 cm Above: Juergen Teller, Maggi Hambling No.2, London 2018
Jerwood Gallery 20 October 2018 - 6 January 2019