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RESHAPING MATTER Nuovo contatto fra arte e spazio, 2020


Extracts taken from a project led by artist and curator Jacopo Benci, with students from John Cabot University, and selected artists, Fiona Crisp, Dunhill and O’Brien, Aisling Hedgecock, and Michael Mazière.

The texts are written and translated by Eleonora Caratelli, Francesca Cavallo, Giuliana Fiore, Alessia Procopio, students from Gestione e Progettazione Eventi Culturali taught by Jacopo Benci, Centro di Alta Formazione – Professional & Continuing Education, John Cabot University, Roma.

Reshaping Matter. Nuovo contatto fra arte e spazio (A new contact between art and space) is an online contemporary art event (20 July – 20 October 2020), curated by Eleonora Caratelli, Francesca Cavallo, Giuliana Fiore, Alessia Procopio, as the outcome of the ‘Management and Organization of Cultural Events’ course, taught by Professor Jacopo Benci at Centro di Alta Formazione – Professional & Continuing Education, John Cabot University, Rome. 
Reshaping Matter exhibits a selection of significant works by four representatives of contemporary British art: Fiona Crisp, Dunhill and O’Brien (artists Mark Dunhill and Tamiko O’Brien’s collaborative practice since 1998), Aisling Hedgecock, Michael Mazière. Despite the diversity of their backgrounds and the media they use, similar or comparable practices, visions, approaches can indeed be identified. 

The Reshaping Matter exhibition project took shape in the new context brought about by the CoViD-19 pandemic. This unprecedented situation stimulated a reflection on the relationship between contemporary art and virtual space; it was precisely the use of digital platforms, in fact, that made it possible for us to work and communicate directly with artists based outside of Italy. The works presented in Reshaping Matter are linked together by a common thread which can be identified in the artists’ creative process: the tendency to reshape and reconfigure matter through direct contact and manipulation of pre-existing materials.  The haptic element (from the Greek haptikós, meaning ‘able to come into contact with’) underlies both the reciprocal dialogue between public, environment and work, and the creative act of the artist, who translates an abstract inspiration into a tangible object. Based on these considerations, we have selected three works for each of the four artists.

In her sculptures The Third Stellation, We Are Stardust, Antikörpers, Aisling Hedgecock deconstructs and re-assembles matter in order to give it a new meaning inspired by the environment and natural processes. Sculpture is also the main medium in Examples in Sculpture, Stone Appreciation: Selfie, Terms & Conditions by Dunhill and O’Brien who, through collaborative practices (that may include other people besides the artists), investigate the value and the cultural meaning of rocks and their malleability. 

The works of Fiona Crisp and Michael Mazière are equally relevant to the theme of Reshaping Matter. In their uses of media usually perceived as two-dimensional, the two artists give a multi-dimensional and physical appearance to photography and video making. Fiona Crisp’s works Santa Maria, Subterrania, Material Sight, explore the relationship between photography, sculpture and architecture, as manifested in her installations, which totally involve the supports and the spaces of the galleries. Michael Mazière’s moving image works, Blackout, Assassin, Actor, investigate the heritage of cinematic memory from an autobiographical point of view, with a special focus on the physicality of characters and spaces, a physicality also involved in the way the works are projected and exhibited.

Eleonora Caratelli, Francesca Cavallo, Giuliana Fiore, Alessia Procopio

Francesca Cavallo writes about Antikörpers

The sculptures Antikörpers mark the transition of Aisling Hedgecock’s art towards sustainable materials, an act of both environmental responsibility and preservation of personal wellbeing. The work was first presented in the virtual exhibition Under(cover) – Art Made During the Lockdown organized by the University for the Creative Arts (UCA), MA Farnham Fine Art Dept. During the lockdown, spent in the heart of the Spanish countryside, Hedgecock was inspired by natural elements such as olive wood, cork, and nopal cactus. She was fascinated by the fact that these materials often resemble parts of the human body, in a repetition of forms and structures that can be found in all living beings. Olive wood, white and smooth after being worked with a spokeshave, resembles human or animal bone, while the internal structure of partially decayed  nopal cactus resembles the system of blood vessels.  At this moment in history, when the world had to turn its attention to the vulnerability and fragility of the human body, the work of art aims at rediscovering and putting the body itself under the spotlight, in an attempt to process the anxiety and uncertainty of mankind (cf. the artist’s website). 

aislinghedgecock | antikorpers 

Alessia Procopio writes about The Third Stellation  

The creative process of continuous discovery of materials in their different states and phases, the ways to create new works, and how these can take a new dimension and occupy space in a different way than before, sometimes pushing matter to its limits; this is what is consistent in Aisling Hedgecock’s art work. For The Third Stellation she used a somewhat unusual process, cutting up drawings made over ten years of her studio work, then folding and gluing the pieces back together to make many stellations, sharp 3-sided pyramids. For Hedgecock, this work is “about the natural laws of geometry, at what point things change direction, breaking the pattern within the structure of the repeated triangulated forms” (interview with the artist, 12 June 2020). Through reconfiguration, what once were two-dimensional drawings were transformed into a 3-D object, which occupies a specific space and has a tangible physical presence.

aislinghedgecock | the third stellation

Eleonora Caratelli writes about We Are Stardust

We Are Stardust was an exhibition of sculptures, drawings, and works on paper that reflected different concerns, including Euclidean geometry and formlessness. Hedgecock presented a series of bright polychromatic structures that looked almost like coloured clouds, framed within open geometric metal structures. In Order of the Procession, the artist used polystyrene balls joined together with polyvinyl glue, in a layering process to make sheets of polychromatic matter, which she then broke to small pieces and reassembled giving them a different shape (interview with the artist, 12 June 2020). The tension involved in the collision between colour, material and form “evokes relationships ranging from insidious and parasitic to harmonious and universal” (artist’s website). An influence of the Baroque can be certainly detected, with the intention of recreating nature under the guise of art.

aislinghedgecock | we are stardust sculpture

Sul lavoro di Aisling Hedgecock, by Giuliana Fiore 

Aisling Hedgecock is a visual artist who is closely connected to the main theme of Reshaping Matterbecause of the techniques and materials that characterize her creative process, but also for her personality. As a child, she was given the nickname ‘Trasher’, relating to a kind of material chaos that would later inform elements of her practice (interview with the artist, 12 June 2020). During her childhood she enjoyed dissecting found objects, both natural and man-made, driven by a curiosity to understand how things were constructed. When she attended school, she threw her freshly fired life-size clay figurative busts out of a second-floor window to see how they would break. These seemingly destructive and anarchic tendencies have found reason in her ideas to date. Walking also plays an important role to the artist. When walking the attention is captured by the infinitely big as well as the infinitely small, by the different colours, forms and patterns presented. For Hedgecock, the joy of art is not in the final result, it rather comes from the creative process that she considers as a playful game, constant experimentation with materials, balancing methodic control with the accidental. The relationship between nature and the environment is essential, and it is noticeable in her recent decision to give up toxic materials such as expanded polystyrene foam and polystyrene beads, which she used in her earlier art works, in favour of non-toxic and sustainable materials. Drawing and sculpture, which may appear separate forms of art, in her view communicate and cooperate, constantly interweaving and combining with one another; she enjoys seeing how they can play off each other. For Hedgecock, drawing is a fundamental act; making sculpture is like drawing with hands; everything is emphasized by the use of hands rather than brushes, when drawing with graphite and other pigments. She gives importance to the haptic approach, in which the hands are the tools that connect the artist with what she creates.

See the full project here

More projects by Jacopo Benci here

Evolver logo.jpg

Article written by Fiona Robinson, current President of the Royal Academy of the Arts West of England, Bristol, UK, First published in Evolver, May/June 2013

Polystyrene balls and shredded corrugated cardboard might seem an unpromising starting point from which to make sculpture but they are the raw materials of Aisling Hedgecock’s unnamable, language- defying work. From these waste products emerge organic, amorphous forms, which suggest mutations, bio geological growth, coral, or cell structure, stalactites and stalagmites. A garden of earthly delights of proliferating cells out of control, except that the whole structureless structure is exceptionally carefully controlled, from the selective coding in “colour waves” of the individual parts, to the sizes of the chunks of glued balls of polystyrene which are also graded in size, to the painted steel structures in which they are housed.

Post Royal College of Art, Aisling spent two years at the British School in Rome, as a Sainsbury Scholar followed by a stint in the hills of Andalucia where the simplicity of Moorish architecture was a significant relief from Roman Baroque churches and the Spanish landscape, a welcome change after the noise and excitement of Italy’s capital. She read Lorca’s essay on the Duende and the spirit of evocation and gradually the experiences of the southern Baroque settled into layers just below the surface of her conscious thought, digested and ordered, freeing her to explore both in her most recent work.

Recycling of materials is part of Hedgecock’s practice. The Third Stellation 2010/11, below, was constructed from ten years-worth of large monochrome drawings, cut, reshaped and remade into a spreading spiky form which crept across the surface of the floor of the Galerie Gabriel Rolt in The Netherlands in 2011.

She has used polystyrene since 2005 but the corrugated card is new as are the fabricated steel structures which she is using to contain her unruly forms. They still grow and appear to have a life of their own, escaping the bounds of their geometric constraints. Occasionally a skeletal hand-claw will attempt to clasp the bubbling teaming mass but it escapes between the stick-like fingers. Elsewhere dripping shards plunge into the forms or emerge from them hanging downwards like stabs of frozen water.

Inextricably linked to the sculptures are drawings of fluid dynamics, dendrology and Rorschachian blots which she develops using her signature language of comets, drips, dots and tails. They explore the concept of memories carried in physical world. In her studio, a huge monochrome drawing fills a complete wall and has been growing in tandem with the new sculpture for months. Starting appropriately with the skeleton of a beaver, itself a creature totally at home in the water, she has been gradually building up the surface with marks and circles. The embryonic form is not quite contained within a grid, just as the sculptures are moving beyond the steel bounds, which are not really attempting to contain them. Drawing and sculpture seem to be having a conversation about balancing form and formlessness, accepting that neither achieves supremacy. The structures are open allowing the amorphous forms the flexibility to flow and develop, fall apart, disintegrate and respond to circumstance, just as water reacts to changes in atmosphere, weather conditions and erosion.

In her work Hedgecock explores formlessness and fluidity and things that are impossible to pin down, She plays with her audience and their expectations, offering a structure but deliberately allowing the coloured mass to escape, not even really letting the geometric cage of steel to challenge the thing growing inside it. She goes further, leaving gaps in the bars and distorting the rigid rules of geometry. There is something essentially anarchic about this work in its concept, in the way it is constructed and in the artist’s choice of and use of materials.

Aisling Hedgecock is a selector and invited artist for the 161st Royal West of England Academy Autumn Exhibition. Sculpture and and a large drawing will be on show at the RWA in Bristol from 24th November until 26th January 2014.


NORWAY, 2013


Clouds are not spheres, mountains are not cones,

coastlines are not circles, and bark is not smooth.

 Benoit Mandelbrot


Akershus Kunstsenter is delighted to present new works by British artist Aisling Hedgecock. In this, her first exhibition in Norway, Hedgecock presents a series of sculptures and a major drawing, alongside other work on paper. All works have been created especially for this exhibition and reflect time examining the interstice between Euclidian geometry and formlessness.


Marking a new direction in her work Hedgecock presents a series of bright, chromatic metal frameworks, housed within these open geometric structures are clouds of her signature coloured polystyrene granules. Francis Bacon’s Head V1, 1949, a reworking of Velazquez’s Portrait of Pope Innocent X, 1650, displays his characteristic use of a framework around the physical body heightening the sense of entrapment. In a similar register, the introduction of sharp linear projections provides space for the formless bio-geological growths to exist. Each exoskeleton varies in cultural reference; from Plato’s abstract building blocks of life, the cube and tetrahedron, to shapes that nod towards plinth, vitrine, and the recognisable contents of art gallery or museum. Hedgecock plays with the tensions brought together in these collisions, ordering colour and material to evoke relationships that range from the insidious and parasitical to the harmonious and universal.


The large-scale pencil drawing We Are Stardust takes its title from the chorus of Woodstock, the renowned Joni Mitchell song featured on the album Ladies of the Canyon (1970). The drawing is constructed from thousands of minuscule graphite circles revealing the skeletal structure of a large mammal. The result is an entropic and embryonic image momentarily fossilized on the surface of the paper before it disappears from sight, back to the stuff of stardust. Essentially a protest song, the Woodstock lyrics bring to mind a journey that traverses both galactic nebulae and an earthly Arcadia set against the psychedelic blaze of 1960’s American radical idealism. Hedgecock’s artwork takes its colour scheme from this epoch. Pastel and neon, luminous and Baroque, optimistic and transcendental, it comes from a place where wilderness still exists.


Born in Donegal, Republic of Ireland, 1979. Hedgecock studied Fine Art, Sculpture at Wimbledon School of Art, London in 2001, and gained a place at the Royal College of Art, London in 2004. After the post-graduate degree Hedgecock was awarded the Sainsbury Scholarship in Drawing and Sculpture at The British School at Rome, living and working in Italy until 2008. She exhibits in the UK and across Europe regularly. Most recent exhibitions include The Third Stellation, her first solo presentation at Galerie Gabriel Rolt, and group shows at Angus-Hughes, Cell and The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, and Galerie Schuster, Berlin. Her work is held in major collections in Europe.

The artist wishes to thank Des Alner and Julie Turner at Higher Green Farm Arts for their generous support in the making of this Exhibition.

Installation View, We Are Stardust, 2013



Debuting in Norway: Irish artist Aisling Hedgecock is exhibiting in Norway for the first time. Her exhibition hangs in Akershus Art Center until 9 June.

Akershus Art Center opened the exhibition "We are Stardust" by British Aisling Hedgecock on Saturday. Lillestrøm

British artist Aisling Hedgecock is exhibiting in Norway for the first time, and she is doing so in Lillestrøm after Rikke Komissar [Director of Akershus Art Centre] saw Hedgecock’s works exhibited in Amsterdam.

“I was then and there quite clear that I had to bring this artist to Norway so that her works can be experienced here”, says Komissar.

Polystyrene and pencil

The artist shows a series of sculptures and a huge drawing, as well as other works on paper, and all the works are made with a view to the exhibition in Lillestrøm.

“What do you convey?"

"Well, the works reflect a time-consuming exploration of the gap between the geometry of antiquity and formlessness," Hedgecock told Romerikes Blad.

The sculptures are made of small polystyrene balls which are assembled to resemble corals and coral reefs that are later hand-painted.

"Hard to control this process?"

“I make the sculptures of small components that are put together. But there are porous issues that easily go unnoticed, ”says Hedgecock.

"Where did you get the idea from?"

“It started off by gluing some polystyrene balls to a sculpture I was working on, and I liked the effect. Then I got the idea of creating the sculpture only with polystyrene balls.”

"Is there anyone else you know about that works with this material and this way?”

“No, this is my expression. I don't know of anyone else doing it quite this way.” *


 *Edit, Updated, Hedgecock did see Tom Friedman ‘untitled (box balls)', 2002 cardboard box and styrofoam balls at Stephen Friedman Gallery in 2005. This was probably the starting point and inspiration for sticking more and more polystyrene balls together.


The exhibition’s perhaps most striking work is the massive pencil drawing. It is constructed from thousands of microscopic circles that together reveal the skeleton of a large mammal. The result is an image that is temporarily trapped like a fossil in the surface of the paper, before it goes into star dust and disappears out of sight. “The title is taken from Joni Mitchell’s song ‘Woodstock’, a text that leads to a journey.” Artist Aisling Hedgecock regularly exhibits in the UK and Europe. Her work has been purchased by several major European collections. "It is a scoop to get her to Norway, and I hope as many as possible will visit us”, says Rikke Komissar.

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