Robert Hague is an artist who revels in ambiguity. His work simultaneously conveys elements of the heavy and light, the fixed and fluid, the brutal and gentle, the abstract and figurative and the stern and amusing.
From his studio in Melbourne, he has exhibited widely and is represented in major public collections such as the National Gallery of Australia and the National Gallery of Victoria. In 2010 his work was the subject of a ten-year retrospective at Deakin University, Burwood. Recent exhibitions include the 2016 Blake Residency and Exhibition Prize, CRUSH at Fehily Contemporary (Melbourne), The Wynne Prize (AGNSW), ‘Erasure’ at The Art Vault (Mildura) and ‘Inaugural’ at Nicholas Projects (Melbourne).
2014. HD video, edition of 5:06 minutes.
CRUSH is a work concerning duality: the hammer is both a tool of creation and a tool of destruction. It is a form that has evolved over millennia into something perfect and exact, and yet it remains defined entirely by its function. This function – to strike – is here sweetly suspended by its transformation into decorative porcelain. To hammer it is to destroy it.
CRUSH is the final work in a long-running series exploring the metaphorical character of the hammer. Realised in the agonising medium of porcelain, each piece is hand-cast and hand-patterned, reflecting our shared heritage of domestic decoration.
This video piece comprises the silent, deliberate and excruciatingly detailed demise of these perfectly beautiful objects. Filmed at 240 frames per second, it quietly loops through an endless scene of stillness and violence.