Upon a recent stroll through the very beautiful Hyde Park, my boyfriend and I stumbled across the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, a little further up and left of the lakes, for anyone interested in finding it. We decided to pop in and see what they had to offer and I couldn’t help but write this post about Duane Hanson’s exhibition there.
‘In the turmoil of everyday life, we too seldom become aware of one another. In the quiet moments in which you observe my work, maybe you will recognise the universality of all people‘ Duane Hanson 1993. (1925 – 1996)
The life-like sculptures that american artist, Hanson, had created were placed in varying situations of reality, in their natural state and next to everyday objects. Hanson stressed that the models were not to be thought of as individuals but as characters that represent every day people. He called his presentation of the every day trials of life ‘tough realism’.
Featured inside the gallery were works such as ‘Trash’, representing Hanson’s views on abortion with a baby in a rubbish bin, a portrayal of labour that goes unseen by many, with builders, Queenie the cleaner and the man with the cart. Hanson also portrayed modern domesticity with his figures of children playing at home and the couple at the dinner table.
The description on the wall of the gallery suggests that Hanson’s work was a prompt to encourage people to assess their presence around other people and objects and to analyse the ‘personal narratives’ that we associate ourselves with in order to have a better sense of awareness for both ourselves and other people around us.
Despite feeling like it was a creepier version of Madame Tussauds, I could understand the objective of the display and appreciated the strong values of the artist behind them.
This exhibition ended on the 13th of September so it is, unfortunately, too late for you to visit for yourself but I do hope that you can admire the work from the photographs I took of it and think about your own reactions to it.