Samuel Bassett & Henry Hussey join Anish Kapoor & Roy Lichtenstein in Art Collection
Anima-Mundi are delighted to announce the Hogan Lovell Art Collections acquisition of Samuel Bassett’s ‘Alone at Sea’ and ‘Play me’ and Henry Hussey’s ‘Lamentation’ These major pieces join works by Anish Kapoor and Roy Lichtenstein as part of this exciting collection.
Background information on Samuel Bassett’s ‘Alone at Sea’ and ‘Play Me’ (mixed media on board, 238 x 214 cm each):
”Both of these works reflect an early immersion in place, specifically the Methodist fishing community of St Ives in Cornwall where I grew up.
Religious iconography always seemed to maintain a presence as a very specific part of my local culture and the lives of the people closest to me. As a pragmatic example, all the men would wear a St. Christopher necklace, this wasn’t merely a decorative feature of vanity. Their mantle pieces above the fireplace would be adorned with images or models of the Madonna and Child and / or the Crucifixion. I have always seen these motifs as more than habitual decoration, they are emblems of genuine faith but also bringers of hope to a people who historically know what suffering and hardship can bring.
A couple of years back, I really started to look at and use an essence of this imagery, researching it and incorporating it into my visualise language, it began to combine with my own inner thoughts, my personal tales of day to day, overheard comments of the weighty or the trivial and more prophetic visions of a personal and local narrative reflecting a wider more universal one.
'Alone at Sea’ shows three figures in a boat, searching, bowing and walking the red carpet. They are accompanied by talisman and a horizontal submerged image of passing laying down within the vessel. Each ‘bringer’ delivers something new, a birthing, as they appear to approach an alter but they also carry with them loss. The piece became a self portrait of sorts, showing a cycle and a need to search and discover but also belong on my own journey. The figures fill the lower section of the painting, I see this as my locality sat below a big horizon where cargo ships pass and hint at the globalization of the wider world, the ships block sight of what lies beyond. These horizons seem to beckon me. In this work I am questioning what is my attachment to my locality, am I part of it or am I just haunted by memories and loss. Is the answer to move forward, explore, cut ties and let go? However I am connected, should this be something to hold on to and to celebrate. Is this need to be a part of something, just a weight and a burden or is it a vital part of our existence. The work goes beyond my own narrative.
The red carpet and the spire motifs that are very present in the ‘Play Me' painting became positive symbols of the self. I used them to promote the importance of self respect. As spires reach high they get closer to trascendence, carrying us all with them. This painting shows three figures again. Perhaps as with ‘Alone at Sea’ they represent three corners of my inner self, the way I discuss internally. At the centre is a mother, a Madonna, the nurturer. The figures sit in front of a cold moon and two boats are moored up in St.Ives Bay, a reminder of the local outside world. Play me, Play you as three become two. One dominant figure still stands tall, another stands fearful and one is becoming submerged, the group seems to crumble as one of the members becomes lost. It is a note of recollection of the loss of a part of oneself. This painting reflects a realisation that without any self respect, parts of you wither, regardless of others, earthly or higher that may be in your life. This was a painting of awareness of self and a responsibility to keep oneself together, supporting every corner and celebrating inner contradictions or differences.
I hope that my personal reflections on my past, present and future and indeed my families heritage combines with other narratives to create a universal lament for change and a recollection that can and should feed us in the path ahead” - Samuel Bassett 2018
Background information on Henry Hussey’s ‘Lamentation’ (Textile, dyed, embroidered and printed textiles with swarovski crystals and beads, 155 × 155 cm.): “Alongside personal references, the work Lamentation is based in part on classical depictions of the crucifixion. I worked with the actress Maxine Peake to channel the symbolism of sainthood and martyrdom, transcendence of flesh and becoming a vessel for a greater ideal.
Drawing on Holbein’s ‘The Ambassadors’ in which the skull is highly evident within the piece yet takes a while to fully decipher within the composition. I wanted a reminder of mortality that was dominant yet equally understated in its depiction within the work. Mortality is naturally a constant concern in life yet if we thought about it in each and every instant we would never be able to fully progress or move forward. The skull is a reminder of the inevitable that should remain in the background, still there but never fully able to control our actions, aims or objectives.
The objects on either side of the piece consist of a reliquary to St Scholastica and on the other side the Greek Symbol of Thanatos. Here I wanted to explore duality and also the European tradition of mortality and how we interpret and deal with this. On the left we have the Christian ideal of ascending upwards as our soul enters heaven. While on the right is reference to Thanatos and being lead downwards to an underworld, which in the Greek context does not necessarily mean hell, it simply implies going to rest where you do not fear, instead you participate as you would through life. In all I see the piece as about balance, life and death, but also about emphatically taking control of fear, it is optimistic in this sense. It is about living life through rational acceptance." Henry Hussey 2018