Figurative / Realism
Neil Hedger is a contemporary British artist known for his figurative sculptures.
Featuring fractured bodies and often comical imagery he re-contextualises the tradition of figurative sculpture. Referencing compositions from Old Masters and the ancient Greek fragments that inspired them, he blends their imagery and techniques with aesthetics that echo Willem de Kooning, Rodin and Cartoon Network.
Throughout his career, Hedger has been fascinated with statues - how they inhabit a space, how separate they are from us. The unchanging nature of the statue has lent it until very recently an air of obsolescence and separation from ourselves. The function and heritage of this type of memorial object has been thrown into sharp relief in the public consciousness recently and asks us all to consider what could be commemorated in such an unchanging manner about ourselves today?
“I see what I do as a kind of existential materialism, forced upon the shape of traditional statues. As a professional figure sculptor I find a reliance purely on surface detail can add to this separation from the reality of the object image. I’m interested in trying to bring the form to the surface so we can feel the presence more immediately.”
Neil Hedger was born 1970 in London to English/Scottish parents, and grew up in Croydon. As a small boy, he was obsessed by a statue in a niche outside The Stanley Halls (since stolen) of Vulcan blacksmith to the gods. It was the closest and most real manifestation of the b/w photos of Michelangelo sculptures that were in the one art book on his parent’s bookshelf. This began his lifelong love for the inaccessible nature of the public statue, and eventually led to his enrolling on the Foundation Art course at Croydon College in 1988. Here it was recommended that he should study sculpture in Scotland at Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art, Dundee. He graduated in 1993 and returned to London and a studio in Brick Lane, making a living sculpting toys and waxworks, moving on to work extensively in the British Film Industry. He left this work to resume his studies on the MFA Course at Goldsmiths College, graduating in 2008.
He was selected for The New Contemporaries 2008, then awarded the Matt Roberts Salon award 2009 and selected by Nigel Cooke for ArtReview Future Greats 2011.
He is married with three children, and lives and works in London.