Description: Angus Fairhurst (1966-2008)
A Cheap and Ill Fitting Gorilla Suit
synthetic fur, newspaper and cardboard
72 x 96 1/8 x 23 3/8in. (183 x 244 x 59cm.)
Executed in 1996
Exhibited: Amsterdam, Paul Andriesse Gallery, A Cheap and Ill-fitting Relationship, 1996.
Bristol, Arnolfini, Angus Fairhurst, January-March 2009.
Provenance: Sadie Coles HQ, London.
Private Collection, London.
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Following the success of the groundbreaking 'Freeze' exhibition in London 1988, Angus Fairhurst firmly established himself as an important force in the driving mechanism of British art of the 1990s. Sharing a creative connection with Damien Hirst and Sarah Lucas, Fairhurst's oeuvre oscillated between wit, humour and intense subtlety of conception.
After the artists death in 2008, the recurring motif of gorillas in his work found a new significance. "The character of the gorilla was similar to Fairhurst himself who played up the combination of clown & fall guy." (Sacha Craddock, Angus Fairhurst, 2008 etc). The traditional pose of the Pieta, where the Virgin Mary cradles Christ, is irreverently reinterpreted through he artist's own body and the stuffed gorilla suit. Explored across a wide variety of media from collage to installation to film, and also populating his early drawings and later his bronze sculptures, the gorillas represent a deeply felt pathos and remain a fundamental metaphor in Fairhurst's oeuvre.