Helen Chadwick

Art Basel Catalogue
2018

For their debut exhibition at Art Basel, Richard Saltoun Gallery will present a stand dedicated to the late British artist Helen CHADWICK (1953-1996). One of the most important women artists to emerge in the last thirty years, Chadwick appeared at the intersection of conceptual-performative art and feminist thinking. She influenced an entire generation of contemporary British artists through her teaching. One of the first women artists to be nominated for the Turner Prize in 1987, her sudden death in 1996 shocked the art world, interrupting the brilliant life of the artist at the apex of her career.

In the final decade of her life, Chadwick produced two of her most iconic works: Wreaths to Pleasure (1992-93) and Piss Flowers (1991-92); which will be presented at Basel.

Wreaths to Pleasure depicts different flowers and fruits set against both pleasant and poisonous liquids: tomato juice, melted chocolate, and detergents and soaps like Windowlene, Fairy, and Germolene antiseptic cream. Shot from above and framed in the artist's own circular brightly coloured enamel steel frames, the works were the result of several years of experimentation. Piss Flowers (1991-92) are twelve cast bronze white “flowers" made from the snow-packed moulds of Chadwick and her partner's urine. Made from quite literally ‘pissing in the snow’, the contrasting patterns created by the male and female body are transformed into sculptures of a trans-sexual bed of flowers.