Robert Hague <em>Venus (after Koons)</em> 2022; lithograph, hand-coloured with watercolour and gold leaf; ed. 1/15. Commissioned by the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, 2022<br/>
© Robert Hague

Robert Hague

Robert Hague
(b. 1967, Rotorua, New Zealand. Lives and works in Melbourne)

Robert Hague is an established artist who works across various media, including sculpture, printmaking, video, painting and installation. His highly detailed prints employ traditional techniques, such as crayon on stone lithography, to provide commentary on culture and society.

For Melbourne Now, Hague has created a lithograph of a fan decorated with images of objects from the NGV Collection. Expanding upon his ongoing series Porcelaine, which he began in 2012, Hague reimagines ubiquitous souvenirs, which he embellishes with appropriated imagery from various art-historical sources, such as colonial landscapes, to tell new stories. In this stone lithograph, he depicts a frayed fan decorated with elements from artworks in the NGV Collection, including female figures from Frederick McCubbin’s iconic painting The pioneer, 1904, and Jeff Koons’s Puppy, 1992, and arranges them around a modern-day Venus. This central figure is based on Pipilotti Rist’s video work Ever is over all,1997, in which the protagonist strikes the window of a parked car with a flower, causing it to shatter. Her behaviour stands in contrast to the quiet, stoic women in The pioneer, and the decorative elements that surround her. The damaged fan on which these elements are brought together alludes not only to fragility and the scars of history, but also suggests a kind of beauty that emerges from the remnants.

Hague has exhibited widely and was the subject of a retrospective at Sydney’s Casula Powerhouse Arts Centre in 2019. Recent awards include the Montalto Sculpture Prize (2021), the Burnie Print Prize Viewer’s Choice Award (2019) and the King Valley Print Prize (2018). His work is held in various public collections, including the National Gallery of Australia, National Gallery of Victoria, Art Gallery of New South Wales, Art Gallery of Western Australia, Tasmanian Museum and Art Gallery and the regional galleries of Ballarat, Geelong and Gippsland. Recent exhibitions include New Prints at IPC New York (2020), The Megalo International Print Prize in Canberra (2019), Common Ground at the NGV (2016), Porcelaine at Turner Galleries in Perth (2016), and the Blake Prize Residency at Casula Powerhouse (2016).