Banal Bodies



Pulling us in with absurd accuracy, Hugo Harris’ sculptures look past hyper realism and instead highlight what could be considered as mundane. Incomplete, the visible parts of these depicted bodies narrow our focus onto the way human flesh moves against (or with) external elements.

Beautiful in themselves, the model photographs serve as a way of planning which position to cast in as well as a means of documenting.

‘I try to let the physique and movement of the models dictate the pose and position I photograph and cast them in. Each position has an adjustment to the centre of mass which is shared between the person and the object. I think of these objects as another individual interacting with the model. Through the couples’ relationship, I want to highlight a sensation of balance and a tilting shift of mass, as if elements were on the verge of tipping over.

My practice has involved a continual exploration into the ways of depicting the weight of the human body. In particular, how a subtle alteration of pose and position can manipulate and displace parts of our muscle and flesh. Focusing on parts of the body that display this pressure or movement of mass has resulted in a series of fragmented figures. These fragments record an action; a physical modification which is accentuated by the figure’s incomplete form. Isolating these elements draws our attention to the way living-flesh reacts when interacting with a solid object: the body’s form is forced to give, and it is this activity and surface tension that I wish to exhibit in my work.

To communicate these subtleties, I have constantly experimented with materials, discovering their possibilities and limitations, and using their inherent qualities to imitate various characteristics of the body. In my most recent works I colour wax to convey a sense of internal pressure and surface tension, and on the internal side I have modelled it, using water, to create a visceral, corporeal texture reminiscent of human flesh and tissue. The contrast between the finely detailed cast side and the roughly modelled back, provides a transitory feeling when moving around the work. I want this effect to make the casts feel like incomplete memories of insignificant and banal actions.’


See more of Hugo’s amazing work by visiting his website or following him on Instagram.