We know there’s still a couple of months to go until the Affordable Art Fair returns to Battersea, so we’ve been seeking out the best summer exhibitions in London to keep you entertained in the meantime!
We recently visited the Serpentine Sackler Gallery, which this summer is populated by American sculptor Duane Hanson’s (1925-1996) startlingly hyper-real figures, and thoroughly enjoyed the show.
Complete with human hair, realistic bruises and veins rendered on their resin surfaces in soft oils, on first glance you’d be forgiven for not realising they were sculptures at all! Instead, they are easily mistaken for fellow visitors, staff, or bored children who have been dragged to the gallery by their parents.
Created between 1960 and the artist’s death in 1996, these life-size and unbelievably life-like figures – from Queenie the cleaner, to the decorator turning the white walls of the gallery a lurid pink – map out Duane Hanson’s gritty, salt-of-the-earth view of humanity. His sculptures thrust benign moments and behind-the-scenes characters into the limelight, often using humour to provoke a reaction from the viewer.
It’s near impossible to avoid their vacant gazes, which challenge you to think more about the people you pass by every day. There’s no glamour in Duane Hanson’s figures, rather, he captures the essence of humanity in all its grubby glory. Entertaining and thought provoking, it’s certainly one of our favourites this summer season.
Catch it at the Serpentine until 13 September.