In the crowd

Duane Hanson, Tourists II, 1988

Models of people made in the name of art are hardly a new concept but nonetheless there’s something unexpected about figurative sculpture that needs a second glance – at least – to reveal itself as object rather than person. Duane Hanson’s figures look very real – indeed his working process included casting from live models – and often very out of place in contemporary gallery spaces. It’s the incongruousness of the figures in the context that makes me most enjoy the ones who look like they just might be real until one gets close enough to spot the pretence. Seen in a London gallery, Hanson’s Tourists look like they might be American tourists who have wandered into a contemporary art space by mistake. Hanson is dealing in stereotypes, but in doing so, he is asking us to question our own preconceptions.

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