Hugh Hayden: ‘My desire is to transform materials from our everyday lived experience’
1 June 2022
The latest film in Art Basel's Meet The Artists series travels to the New York studio of Hugh Hayden.
At the core of Hayden’s practice is the concept of the American dream. ‘I’m thinking about the American dream as this desirable place that you’d like to be, but it’s also a difficult space to inhabit,’ he says in this episode of ‘Meet the artists.’ It’s a sentiment that is reflected in the works. Sculpted from exotic woods like Texas ebony, mesquite, and black walnut, Hayden’s pieces are simultaneously playful and ominous: school desks sprout jagged branches, a crib is lined with thorns, a football helmet is filled with spikes. The seductive materials draw you in but the form keeps you at arm’s length.
The artist’s background in architecture, which he studied before receiving an MFA, shows in his careful considerations of how we interact with space and objects. ‘As an artist, I want to remix and re-contextualize the way we think about all of the things around us that we might take for granted,’ he adds. Themes such as ecology and the US’s socio-political conditions keep reoccurring, calling on viewers to rethink their own place in the world.
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