Sunday, 1 September 2013

Philip Haas.

Philip Haas (born 1954) is an American artist, screenwriter and filmmaker, perhaps best known for his 2012 sculpture exhibition "The Four Seasons" and his 1995 film Angels and Insects.
He began his career as a documentary film maker, directing ten profiles of unusual artists through early 1990s with the theme "Magicians of the Earth," commissioned by the Centre Georges Pompidou.
His feature films include Angels and Insects, set in Victorian England, which was nominated for an Academy Award and the Cannes Film Festival Palme d'Or, Up at the Villa, an adaptation of the W. Somerset Maugham novella, starring Sean Penn, Anne Bancroft and Kristin Scott Thomas, The Situation, a political thriller set in Iraq, released in 2006, and the highly-regarded The Music of Chance (1993).
In 2008, the Sonnabend Gallery of New York featured a film installation called The Butcher's Shop, commissioned by the Kimbell Art Museum, in which Haas recreated the space depicted in Annibale Carracci’s 1582 painting of the same name. In 2010, he expanded this series to include works by Ensor and Tiepolo. His exhibition of film installations at the Kimbell Art Museum, "Butchers, Dragons, Gods and Skeletons," was listed by TIME magazine as one of the top ten museum shows of 2009
Retrospectives of his art films have been held at the Tate Gallery in London, the Centre Georges Pompidou in Paris, Lincoln Center in New York, the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. He received a Guggenheim Fellowship for this body of work. He has taught in the Visual Arts Program at Princeton University. In 2008 and 2010, he had one-man shows of paintings and film installations at the Sonnabend Gallery. in New York City. Haas's monumental fiberglass sculpture Winter (after Arcimboldo) was unveiled in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in September, 2010, before traveling in 2011 to the Piazza del Duomo in Milan and the Garden of Versailles. In 2012, in a spectacular transformation that is typical of his work, Haas created a group of large-scale, fifteen-foot-high, fibre-glass sculptures, inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo's Renaissance paintings of the four seasons, comprising Spring, Summer, Autumn, and including Winter. The colossal size of Haas's sculpture accentuates the visual puzzle of natural forms—flowers, ivy, moss, fungi, vegetables, fruit, trees, bark, branches, twigs, leaves—as they are recycled to form four human portraits, each representing an individual season. The result is at once earthy, fanciful and exuberant—a commentary on Arcimboldo's style and a work of art in its own right. These sculptures were first seen in the garden of the Dulwich Picture Gallery  in the United Kingdom in the summer of 2012, before embarking on a three-year tour of American museums and botanical gardens.

 The New York Botanical Garden exhibits Philip Haas's monumental sculpture series Four Seasons

 Internationally-renowned contemporary artist Philip Haas is the subject of a one person show, titled Four Seasons, at The New York Botanical Garden May 18–October 27, 2013. Haas’s work is distinguished by meticulously rendered tableaux seeking to illuminate the source of creativity, often through contemporary interpretations of masterworks from the history of art. In Four Seasons, Haas has created four monumental, 15-foot-tall, portrait busts that reference each of the seasons and are displayed in the round. In the artist’s exploration of the past, reinterpreted in the present, Haas references classical Italian Renaissance portraiture, with roots in the celebrated Four Seasons series created by Renaissance master Giuseppe Arcimboldo. Haas gives viewers a fresh perspective on the classical form by blowing up the scale to colossal proportions. What has formerly been a two-dimensional experience—the painted portrait—is given new context through this series as viewers are able to walk around the sculptures, to see the subjects from all sides, rather than simply in profile as with a painting. Further, as in Arcimboldo’s work from the 1500s, flesh, hair, and human features have been replaced with organic material native to each season. In Winter, for example, the skin of the subject is represented through oversized forms of bark and hair by gnarled tree limbs and ivy. Spring features a riot of flower forms in bright hues arranged to represent a human portrait. The placement of the four sculptures within the symmetrical courtyard of the Enid A. Haupt Conservatory has the busts facing one another in a square configuration, creating a dialog between not only the four “subjects,” but also the viewer who can walk around and in between the works, creating an involving and personal experience. Haas comments, “Whether I’m working in painting, sculpture, or film, what fascinates me is the idea of transformation. Through the Four Seasons, I am re-contextualizing the world of classical Renaissance portraiture using the transformative elements of scale, material, and dimensionality, thereby altering the viewer’s perspective.” The New York Botanical Garden Chief Executive Officer and The William C. Steere Sr. President Gregory Long states, “We are thrilled to present Philip Haas’s remarkable Four Seasons here at The New York Botanical Garden. This body of work is ideal for the garden as it speaks to the present, while reflecting on the past. The contemporary forms rooted in the history of art will resonate not only with our core audience but also those passionate about contemporary art.” Haas, in marrying sculpture, painting, film, and architecture, has created a contemporary visual vocabulary all his own. He describes his process as “sculpting by thinking.” Haas’s groundbreaking artwork has been featured by museums including the National Gallery of Art (Washington DC), the Kimbell Art Museum (Fort Worth, Texas), Dulwich Picture Gallery (United Kingdom), and Centre Georges Pompidou (Paris). In the public realm, his work has been exhibited in the Piazza del Duomo (Milan) and the Gardens of Versailles (France). He is the recipient of a Guggenheim Fellowship, as well as other awards. He has taught in the visual arts and creative writing programs at Princeton University. He lives and works in New York and London.

 Philip Haas at Dulwich Picture Gallery: Seasonal vegetables and the sculpture renaissance

Sarah Crompton finds Philip Haas's installations at Dulwich Picture Gallery peculiar and impressive.

As storms lashed the North of the country while London sweltered in a heatwave, it seemed a good moment to pop into the Dulwich Picture Gallery and take a look at four bizarre sculptures that have appeared in its grounds.
The American artist Philip Haas has taken it upon himself to make a quartet of towering, painted, fibreglass sculptures inspired by Giuseppe Arcimboldo’s Renaissance paintings of the four seasons, built from the pieces of fruit, flora and fauna that are appropriate to the time of year.
So Summer is all bright colours and healthy leaves; he has a rose for his chin and cheeks, and a garland of flowers in his hair. Winter shows his colours with locks of tumbling ivy, a crown of ragged branches and moss on his chin. Spring, on the other hand, features an artichoke for a buttonhole, and corn pokes out from his collar; with his marrow of a nose and aubergines hanging from his hair, he looks a bit like a sculptural dish of primavera pasta. Autumn is distinguished by caterpillars for eyebrows and blackberries for the pupils of his eyes.
At least I think that is right. Arcimboldo, and Haas in turn, seem to me to use a fair amount of artistic licence with their fruit and veg, which introduced an element of seasonal confusion in my mind: until I spotted the blackberries, I thought Autumn was Spring.
The whole thing is both peculiar and impressive to fall across in the garden of this elegant south London gallery. It seems to be part of a trend for putting big sculptures in public places. I don’t always like the work – Elmgreen and Dragset’s Boy on a Rocking Horse makes me shudder every time I walk through Trafalgar Square – but I do applaud the impulse to liven up our cities by putting it there.

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