It is not often that artists can establish a reputation of real standing without a respected dealer to champion them – few have hit the big time without the Svengalis of the art world behind them. Sculptor Charles Hadcock has defiantly chosen to remain independent, rarely relying on the support of any one gallery for long. Had he been in the hands of any of the contemporary-art behemoths, it is likely he would have been fêted as a revolutionary of his generation, with pieces priced accordingly. And yet, his sculptures have been seen in locations as diverse as Holland Park, the Peggy Guggenheim Collection in Venice and Chatsworth House – Folium is currently part of Sotheby’s Beyond Limits exhibition there.
But Hadcock, now in his fifties, has more recently joined forces with a couple of London’s most promising young art-dealing bucks, Alexander Caspari and Jordan Harris, at nomadic gallery Encounter Contemporary. Their latest venture with the sculptor is Piccadilly pop-up Charles Hadcock: Fusion (October 19-30).
“Hadcock was at the Royal College of Art at the same time as Tracey Emin, but because his work was about materiality and history it was overlooked,” says Caspari. “Since Emin’s heyday we have entered a different era that favours the handcrafted object. Hadcock’s work is resilient; resilient to market trends but also physically resilient. It is going to last a thousand years.”
Hadcock’s pieces (priced between £8,000 and £99,500), such as Working Model of Hexad IV (£33,600), are forged from bronze and nickel, creating sculptures in which mirrored surfaces dance in contrast to the textured castings of rock faces and fossils. Many of his works use nature’s bounty – river beds, leaves or buds – and are so beautifully convolved, folded and pleated that they are almost optical puzzles.