An artist’s fleshy pink sculptures inspire autumn-winter 2020-21
Works by British artist Simon Hitchens – strange rocks with a flesh-like look made of translucent materials such as wax and resin – have been exhibited throughout the world.
His sculptures, underpinned by pinkish tones evoking strange and natural skin tones, resonate with the sensual vision of autumn winter 2020-21. These new beiges derive from neutrals, yet are more temperamental, conveying emotions and feelings, discomfort, anger or love. Skin and flesh pervade not only the season’s palette, but its aspects and handles too. Fabrics shiver, are traversed by fine lines and subtle quivers, reveal hollows and bumps. Leathers have waxy shines, softly attenuated by lightweight coatings not meant to mask the underlying material. There’s an absence of disguise or pretence: roughness is embraced or, even better, magnified. Frailties are respected and even highlighted, like so many traces of sensitivity, of emotion, of life.
For Simon Hitchens, stone in its natural, un-sculpted, unpolished state is the raw material of his experiments around skin and flesh. As a climber, he has a particular closeness with rock, a physical and intimate experience of it. In the hybrid forms he creates, the human and the mineral merge, as if in a fantasy of communion, of absolute harmony, of man’s full integration into nature. The animate and the inanimate interact, question each other, respond to each other. Rock, the very definition of solidity and durability, takes on the wounds of humanity: it becomes reddish, scratched, delicate, tender, swollen with blood ready to trickle.
In this fusion of what has remained stable throughout the ages (stone) and what is only passing through (man), we suddenly realize the fragility of the natural environment. What is long lasting is nevertheless not eternal. The stones supporting our weight need themselves to be supported, cherished and protected. Man and his environment must move forward together, no longer viewing each other as two separate entities, but as part of a whole, possibly as balanced as it is vulnerable.
For the autumn winter 2020-21 season, softness and rawness meet and enrich each other, as they do in Simon Hitchens‘ works, giving rise to a touching strangeness that calls out to us, and celebrates life.