Thomas Houseago – WE with Nick Cave & Brad Pitt Exhibition opens an interesting cultural autumn in Tampere Finland
Sara Hildén Art Museum is proud to present Thomas Houseago’s first exhibition in the Nordic countries. Thomas Houseago is a world-renowned artist, known for sculptures in plaster, rebar, bronze and wood. For this exhibition, the British-born artist is also presenting new paintings and sculptures in redwood and plaster including responding to work in the collection of the Sara Hildén Foundation, Alberto Giacometti's (1901–1966) sculpture Woman on a Chariot (1943, 1962).
During the last couple of years, Thomas Houseago has discovered painting, which has offered a form of liberation for him. The exhibition will feature his large-scale, expressive paintings from his Visions series, which he produced outdoors, focusing on subjects such as nature, landscape, cosmic unity and the cycle of life.
For Houseago, creativity is fundamental, common to all people and flowing in all of us. For this exhibition, the artist has taken a radical response to the invitation for the exhibition at Sara Hildén Art Museum. By including artworks by his creative associates, he introduces the concept of WE, recontextualizing the concept of original creation to challenge the idea of the artist as a solitary individual and celebrate a more collectivist approach. Houseago is presenting his own sculpture and paintings alongside a ceramic series by Nick Cave and sculptures by Brad Pitt. Cave and Pitt are already renowned in their respective fields of music and cinema, but this is the first time ever they have exhibited their artwork – pieces which were created during the course of an ongoing dialogue with Houseago.
Although each body of work remains individually authored, their presentation under the collective title reflects the connected nature of the works and their makers. WE is an open-ended concept that encourages new ways to think about art-making and the role of the solitary artist, which are less about ideas born exclusively to a single author. Houseago sees WE as an incorporation of all artforms and anyone he might connect with creatively. With the ultimate aim to spread hope and inclusiveness, the parameters and participants of WE may expand, yet with its beginning here with three figures each widely recognized for their individual talent, by challenging the need for such distinctions the message of WE is emphatically underscored.
Houseago aims to give greater recognition for the myriad elements and human interactions that feed into the creation of each artwork. His studio has long been a place of interaction and conversation, with social spaces prominently built into its fabric, its function and physical character provided the basis for Cast Studio (2018), a sculpture that was a stage for performance and a forum for discussion, which sits at the center of the exhibition at Sara Hildén Art Museum. The conversations and dynamics that fed into and followed Cast Studio are part of the genesis of WE.
The sculptural processes that led to the work of each artist here, in different ways represent stages of becoming, transformation and transfiguration over time. In the work of Nick Cave this transformation is more literally conveyed via a narrative series of glazed ceramic figurines depicting the life of the Devil in 17 stations, from innocence through experience into confrontation of our mortality. The Devil – A Life is Cave’s first major body of visual work. It includes 17 individual pieces ranging between 15 and 50cm tall, each hand-crafted, painted and glazed by Cave in England, between 2020 and 2022. Aesthetically the series nods to the artist’s interest in Victorian Staffordshire Flatback figurines, of which he is a collector. Cave was assisted with the series by Corin Johnson.
Also presented in public for the first time, a range of sculptural works by Brad Pitt includes – amongst other works – a molded plaster panel depicting a gunfight narrative scene, cast using multiple impressions of the human body, as well as a series of plinth-mounted, house shaped sculptures molded in clear silicone that each have been shot with a different gauge of ammunition, revealing its trajectory and freeze framing the destructive motion. Another house structure – Pitt’s first ever sculpture, entitled House A Go Go (2017) – is a 46cm tall composite of timber off-cuts crudely.
- I’m very happy and proud that Thomas Houseago decided to bring WE to Tampere. It is also exciting to get to experience a new and different artistic side of Nick Cave and Brad Pitt. WE delivers a strong message of working together, creating something new and a sense of community that is compatible with Tampere, as the city is known for its capacity for change and making bold decisions together. The message of doing together and relying on each other is very powerful in these turbulent times, says Anna-Kaisa Ikonen, Mayor of Tampere.
Tampere's autumn of culture is especially interesting
In addition to the WE-exhibition at Sara Hildén, Tampere’s autumn and winter of art is plentiful and bright. Tampere Art Museum offers rarities from Finnish art foundations commencing on Oct 8th. The exhibition includes works by artists such as Helene Schjerfbeck, Ellen Thesleff, Fanny Churberg, Akseli Gallen-Kallela and Tyko Sallinen. The other museums of Tampere, for example Vapriikki, offer experiences for the whole family. Especially the Moomin Museum is a favourite of kids.
The Tampere Philharmonic plays beloved classics and new acquaintances. The new Strauss-series opens with Hannu Lintu and continues until spring. The farewell concert of Chief Conductor Santtu-Matias Rouvali, who has been nominated as the Principal Conductor of London Phiharmonia, will be held on May 23rd 2023. The brand new Nokia Arena will host exciting international concerts including for example Volbeat and Swedish House Mafia. Tampere is also the theatre capital of Finland, and the theatres of Tampere are full of great musicals, drama, comedy and crime stories.
- It is going to be a wonderful autumn and winter of art and culture, and I’m sure there are plenty of experiences for all tastes, says Mayor Ikonen.
Tampere has direct flight routes to many European destinations, for example to Amsterdam, Malaga, Riga and München. It is also easily reached from the Finnish capital Helsinki., for example, the train ride from Helsinki to Tampere takes about 1,5 hours.
Tampere is a vibrant city of approximately 244 000 inhabitants and is also known as the Sauna Capital of the World.