Nick Hornby has brought his Wonderland to the MOSTYN Gallery in Llandudno with Zygotes and Confessions. Here, Amy Briscoe reviews the dream-like exhibition, which is currently attracting an international audience online.
Nick Hornby is known for exploring cultural objects, and his monochromatic and site-specific sculptures have been exhibited globally at Tate Britain and the Museum of Art and Design in New York. Alfredo Cramerotti invited Hornby to exhibit at MOSTYN, a hidden gem in the North Wales art culture scene, after he won the gallery’s Audience Choice Award in the Open 21. The result is Zygotes and Confessions.
And MOSTYN is the perfect venue for Nick Hornby’s first solo UK exhibition; it has retained its striking original Victorian terracotta façade, whilst the modern gallery interior provides a sublime backdrop for Hornby’s work to come to life in the minds of viewers.
Multifaceted and illusive sculptures appear as if they are floating with their vibrant presence. The sculptures are colourful and glossy and the subject matter is highly personal. Hornby has alluded to the fact that he has an “intimate” relationship with each piece, hinting that there are people and stories behind every sculpture in the exhibition. You can see many perspectives and glimmers of images in his work and the eyes of his sculptures are visually arresting. Like a magpie, he plunders the cultural world whilst transporting us into his own. Hornby drew inspiration from portrait busts at the Victoria and Albert Museum, whilst the mantelpiece dogs had their origins in early Parisian abstract art.
Nick Hornby has a reputation for using technology to invoke new worlds, and Zygotes and Confessions is no exception. The photo sculptural works are brought to life by an innovative liquefied photography technique. He uses the way we see the world through distorted and highly-glossy filters on our phones and devices and transferring that into the artistic space. Due to the coronavirus, many people have accessed the exhibition through a screen, adding to the idea that what we are seeing is highly-stylised fragments of his personal world. The exhibition is without doubt autobiographical.
Photography and sculpture are presented as one, adding to the vulnerability of each piece. Every part of each sculpture tells a story as fragments of human life; a life I want to know more about. They appear hallucinatory from a distance, pulling the observer to look closer. If this was a real-life viewing, I could. There is no doubt that these sculptures are highly interactive, with every angle revealing little by little; Nick Hornby is a master of perspective, after all. These pieces are indeed sculptures that come alive at sight. The glossiness and high-octane colours make the busts appear otherworldly. Indeed, we as the spectators are watching this from the outside looking in, like Alice through the looking glass.
Nick Hornby’s Zygotes and Confessions can be enjoyed online and is being held at the MOSTYN until May 9th 2021.
Amy Briscoe is a journalist based in North Wales.