Hugh Hayden <em>The end</em> 2022, National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne. Loti & Victor Smorgon Fund, 2023. This artist has been supported by the Elizabeth Summons Grant in Memory of Nicholas Draffin. Photo: Christian Markel/NGV<br/>
© Hugh Hayden

Conversation: Hugh Hayden hosted by Sophie Oxenbridge

Past program
Sun 3 Dec 23, 3pm–3.30pm

Watch the livestream

Free entry

NGV International

Great Hall
Ground Level

This talk will be held in person and livestreamed. Click the ‘watch the livestream link’ to join us online.

American artist Hugh Hayden’s work explores ideas of class, race, education and cultural assimilation. Working with wood and other organic materials, his anthropomorphic sculptures and installations interrogate our relationship with the natural world. In a free, drop-in conversation in the NGV Great Hall with NGV Curator Sophie Oxenbridge, Hayden discusses the themes around his 2022 installation, The end, which depicts an apocalyptic elementary school classroom.

About the speakers

Hugh Hayden’s practice considers the anthropomorphisation of the natural world as a visceral lens for exploring the human condition. Hayden transforms familiar objects through a process of selection, carving and juxtaposition to challenge our perceptions of ourselves, others and the environment. Raised in Texas and trained as an architect, his work arises from a deep connection to nature and its organic materials. Hayden utilizes wood as his primary medium, frequently loaded with multilayered histories in their origin, including objects as varied as discarded trunks, rare indigenous timbers, Christmas trees or souvenir African sculptures. From these he saws, sculpts and sands the wood, often combining disparate species, creating new composite forms that also reflect their complex cultural backgrounds. Crafting metaphors for human existence and past experience, Hayden’s work questions the stasis of social dynamics and asks the viewer to examine their place within an ever-shifting ecosystem

Sophie Oxenbridge is Curator of Contemporary Art at the National Gallery of Victoria.

Auslan Triennial NGV International