‘Sisyphus Reclined’, a specially commissioned interactive installation created for our Regent Street flagship store, is an ambitious exploration of life, death, psychology, AI, religion, humanity and much more. In Greek mythology, Sisyphus was the thief condemned by the gods to an eternity of pushing a large boulder up a hill only to have it roll down again. This story of the human condition is the central inspiration for Hudson’s work. The three-floor scaffold structure in Regent Street features robots creating sculptures, 3D scanning, mould-making and casting and even a gym – all referencing ideas of the body from classicism as well as our obsession with image and the narcissism of our age. ‘It’s a tale of life and death in sculptural form,' says Hudson. 'Of what it is to ‘make’, be that, objects, ideas, bodies and selves; how we make; ideas of how power and desire is structured; and thought processed.’
‘The project has pushed the physical capability of the building to its limit,’ he says of 121 Regent Street which, fittingly, from 1888–1910, was a dedicated exhibition space called ‘The New Gallery’. ‘I was excited about Burberry’s commitment to be open-minded about what was possible,’ Hudson adds. ‘I think the fact that London has been a building site since the Romans arrived has been a creeping influence on my work. The scaffold and rubble, it’s also a kind of acting – a façade. There’s no such thing as a neutral space. There’s no place that you can put an artwork that doesn’t bring meaning. The context is everything. The store’s history as a gallery and an auditorium was key to our early conversations about why this space was relevant and what could occur here.’
Hudson graduated from the Royal College of Art in 2002 where he had intended to make films but ‘fell for the immediacy of art’. He was an assistant on Michael Landy’s ‘Break Down’ in 2001, where he destroyed all his possessions ‘with brutal sincerity and love’. In 2006, for a Henry Moore Foundation residency at Chelsea parade ground, Hudson built his own house and studio and lived there for eight months.
Of his body of work, the artist says, ‘We are not individual selves, we are environmental products – with no free will. I have no style. Actually, I think a lot of people would say that it has no style; an aesthetic of unfinished and broken.’ His pieces explore subjectivity: he believes objectivity is ‘a mirage’ and personal experience, no matter how mundane. ‘How you encounter the artwork will have a lot to do with your own life experience. Every experience affects our views, values and behaviour, from reading a book to sitting next to someone on a bus. Any creative output is equally tossed on the seas of random perception.’
15 September – 26 October
‘It’s a tale of life and death in sculptural form. Of what it is to ‘make’, be that, objects, ideas, bodies and selves; how we make; ideas of how power and desire is structured; and thought processed.’ – Graham Hudson