•  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
  •  Installation Shots From: Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
    Pangaea: New Art From Africa And Latin America
30th anniversary
Saatchi Store
Current Exhibition

EXHIBITED AT THE SAATCHI GALLERY

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Dean Hughes
Shelves (i)

2008

Backing card

30 x 30 x 6.3 cm
“My work doesn’t start with materials, it starts with objects that have a use. When I began thinking about making artwork I wasn’t too interested in bronze or canvas, or any other traditional forms, because they come with a preconceived hierarchy. I was interested in things I thought didn’t have a relationship to art, like puddles or bus tickets. These things are from a similar family, they’re perfunctory and unloved things. I have found that trying to forget about making art opens up a much more generous process. This series originated from notebooks; I used the cardboard backings from the used writing pads I had. I became intrigued by the ring binder holes that were punched down the side. I made a cube just as a way to look at the holes without having to hold the card in my hand. There was enough in this activity to allow me to make more. For me it’s like building a relationship with them.”
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Dean Hughes
Shelves (ii)

2008

Backing card

15 x 20 x 6.3 cms
“My work used to be more about ideas, but now it’s much more about me seeing myself doing an activity. The process is really crucial. It’s about making an artwork from a thing which I think hasn’t been noticed. Part of my process is just looking at my objects in a space. My studio is in my flat and the works were made in different rooms, so I spent a long time living with them and looking at them in an everyday functional environment. It wasn’t until I first installed them in an empty space that I became aware of how much they are looking at you. I was surprised by how alive they seem. People often think of them as bird boxes or some form of architecture, but I don’t really think about them in a representational way. When I look at them it’s like they’re really full, like each one might have something in it.”
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Dean Hughes
Shelves (iii)

2008

Backing card

30 x 21 x 6.3 cms
“I try to make a better or the very best relationship with work that I can: I make one, and then try to have an even better experience when I make the next one and to attempt a unique expression. The cubes are 2.5 cm as I didn’t punch the holes. The scale is dictated by the distance of the hole to the edge of the paper. Measurements are important to my work: I’m fascinated by how the space between the edge of the paper and the hole can generate an artwork. It’s a way of not making a decision about it, and just going with something. Part of it is about me finding an admiration or beauty in those things. I thought about building things with them, but I try to keep as much as I can out of the work, so instead I made structures to see them in.”
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Dean Hughes
Shelves (iv)

2008

Backing card

30 x 21 x 6.3 cms
“How they are installed is an important aspect of the works’ process. In a sense they are like paintings hanging off pins on the wall. How they’re architecturally sited is important: their relationship to the space, floor, ceiling, and each other. They’re installed at different heights to help interrogate these relationships. It’s not a purely visual process; I’m interested in how they communicate beyond their given circumstance. I studied painting and as a student I was given a wall to work on – but never made any paintings, so I have a slightly uneasy relationship to the wall. My works are kind of sculptural, but they have a frontal view and aren’t something you can walk around.”
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Dean Hughes
Boxes

2008

Backing card

30 x 22.4 x 6.3 cms
“It’s strange talking about these works because they’re more about a haptic experience than an intellectual one. It’s difficult to verbally convey the experience of intimately coming to know an object or material over a long period of time by handling it or repeating a physical process or set of actions. I think it has something to do with the space inside them. You can’t see it, and I don’t know what it is, it’s unaccountable. When looking at them I’m aware that I’m looking through a hole punch, and I like the bog-standard ordinariness to it. When I first showed them, I went back to have look at them and saw a spider crawl out of one of the holes; it made sense to me.”
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Dean Hughes
Shelf and Boxes

2008

Backing card

22.4 x 23.4 x 6.3 cms
“It’s important that the works have a connection to my hand, I don’t feel comfortable with things bigger than my hand. I prefer to make things by hand, they have to be made by me – they’re never made by industrial processes and I never use assistants. I think that’s all artists have – the process of making things they don’t understand. Artists spend their time trying to understand things. What I really enjoy about looking at artwork is that it always relates to a person. It’s approachable because someone’s made decisions about it, and I can think about those decisions. In Shelf And Boxes the objects just sit on top of each other, they’re not glued down. There is an element of order, but they’re slightly out of line; this makes it seem more natural, like it should just be there.”
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Dean Hughes
Twin Shelves

2008

Backing card

15.3 x 34.2 x 6.3 cms

OTHER RESOURCES

artfacts.net
Additional information and images – Dean Hughes

dicksmithgallery.co.uk
Representing gallery with a selection of recent works

cube.org.uk
Details of exhibition at CUBE gallery, Manchester with Matthew Houlding, March 2008

doggerfisher.com
Exhibiting gallery with selected works on show