Henry Hudson’s latest body of work tells the tale of the “The Rise and Fall of Young Sen – The Contemporay Artist’s Progress”. The narrative, which is modern day take on William Hogarth’s 18th century story of “The Rake’s Progress”, spans over 10 large scale plasticine paintings, each depicting a scene from the various stages of the protagonist’s life and decline.
Every plate is saturated with contemporary cultural references, satirising the absurdity of contemporary life – from political issues to social stereotypes, the idols of consumerism to salacious desire and the depravity of humanity.
In another nod to Hogarth’s legacy, Hudson is also creating a series of prints and etchings based on the series.
The printed produced for Alteria Art is a detail from plate 6 – a scene that depicts the aftermath of a New York art party. Central to the composition is sculpture by Marc Quinn placed within a Louis Vuitton trunk. The sculpture is Quinn’s take on Edvard Munch’s painting “The Scream”, a painting that speaks of mental illness and inner turmoil. In Hudson’s etching this scream carries the mental illness of consumerism with its addiction false idols. Freud described religion as the opiate other masses, repressing and controlling the individual through obsessive ritual, but in today’s secular society this opiate has been transferred to the commodity. Within any oppression comes neuroses – addiction and a desire for excess and corruption. This scream perhaps comes from the very city itself, loaded with shopping bags full of promise, perpetuating the myth and cycle of consumption and void. It’s a city obese with possessions.
Sat next to the scream is a peculiar object with a contrasting and cool sereneness. It is a small glass prison containing an S shape. This object was used by Hogarth to illustrate his theory of aesthetics; the line is what he referred to as the line of beauty. Perhaps in all the bedlam, Hudson points out the fundamentals that keep us human and grounded to a deeper level of reality. At the heart there is alway beauty, but it’s discovery lies on a separate path, one which no amount of designer bags can find.