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Octavia Nicholson


(b Bristol, June 7, 1965).

English sculptor, installation artist, painter, and printmaker. He was a leading figure in the group of ‘Young British Artists’ who emerged, predominantly in London, in the 1990s. He studied at Goldsmiths’ College, London (1986–9), and in 1988 curated the exhibition Freeze, which provided a new platform to show his own work and that of many of his Goldsmiths’ contemporaries, some of whom have since become internationally renowned. His works are explicitly concerned with the fundamental dilemmas of human existence; his constant themes have included the fragility of life, society’s reluctance to confront death, and the nature of love and desire, often clothed in titles which exist somewhere between the naive and the disingenuous. The works typically make use of media that challenge conventional notions of high art and aesthetic value and subject-matter that critiques the values of late 20th-century culture.

Dead animals are frequently used in Hirst’s installations, forcing viewers to consider their own and society’s attitudes to death. Containers such as aquariums and vitrines are also hallmarks of his work; reflecting the formal influence of Minimalism and certain sculptures by Jeff Koons, they are used as devices to impose control on the fragile subject-matter contained within them and as barriers between the viewer and the viewed. ...


Catherine M. Grant

(b Düsseldorf, Dec 27, 1965).

German sculptor, painter and installation artist, active in Wales. She studied Fine Art at Goldsmiths’ College, London (1987–90), before going on to study for an MA in Sculpture at Chelsea College of Art and Design, London (1991–2). Her work in the mid-1990s focused on modelling small three-dimensional recreations of paintings by German Romantic artists such as Caspar David Friedrich, contained in glass tanks which were filled with saline solution and dye to reproduce the dramatic sunsets and skies. Neudecker accentuated the kitsch fantasy of these landscapes, making the imagined mountains and hills ‘real’ as objects, albeit in miniature form. The Sea of Ice 1997; Eastbourne, Towner A.G. & Local Hist. Mus.) is typical of these works. The associations with German history, and in particular with Hitler’s appropriation of Romanticism, forms a cultural backdrop to these landscapes that unsettles the innocent, childlike imagery. Maps are another important motif in Neudecker’s exploration of the ways in which cultural identity is affected by personal conceptions of geography and history. In an ongoing project initiated in ...


British, 20th – 21st century, male.

Born 1958, in London.

Painter (mixed media), sculptor of assemblages.

New British Sculpture.

From 1979 to 1982, Julian Opie studied at Goldsmith’s School of Art in London. In 1995 he was resident at the Atelier Calder in Saché, where he prepared his ...


John-Paul Stonard

(b London, Dec 12, 1958).

English sculptor, painter, printmaker and installation artist. He studied at Goldsmiths’ College (1979–82) under Michael Craig-Martin, for whom he briefly worked as an assistant, and emerged as an influential figure on the British art scene in the 1980s, with a highly inventive series of painted metal sculptures. These humorous and playful sculptures combined a loosely painted imagery with steel shapes, as in the case of This One Took Ages to Make (1983; New York, Mr and Mrs A. Safir priv. col., see 1994 exh. cat., p.15), representing a red typewriter supported by the loose pages that fall from it. Towards the end of the 1980s his sculptures became larger, more austere and minimal, and were often based on a relationship between art and architecture. As his work developed it dealt increasingly with the exploration of visual and spatial experience, often with reference to digital simulation. Imagine You are Walking (1–18)...


Andrew Cross

revised by Mary Chou

(b London Aug 9, 1962).

British sculptor, painter and installation artist. Born to Nigerian parents, he grew up in Nigeria before returning to England to study Fine Art in London at Byam Shaw School of Art and Goldsmiths’ College where he completed his MFA. Shonibare’s West African heritage has been at the heart of his work since he started exhibiting in 1988, when he began using ‘Dutch-wax’ dyed fabrics, commonly found in Western Africa, both for wall-mounted works (as pseudo paintings) and for sculpted figures. Generally perceived as ‘authentic’African cloth, the tradition of Batik originated in Indonesia, and was appropriated by the Dutch who colonized the country. Manufactured in Holland and Britain, the cloth was then shipped to West Africa where it became the dress of the working class in nations such as Nigeria. Shonibare used the material as a way of deconstructing the more complex histories that determine these and other images of ethnicity. As such, he has been described as a ‘post-cultural hybrid’ or the ‘quintessential postcolonial artist’ by critics as well as the artist himself....