Gary Hume (1962 - )



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© London 2012 / Gary Hume

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  • About the work
    Country: Japan
    City: Tokyo
    Place: British Embassy

    Gary Hume’s paintings are distinctive for their fresh colour combinations, pared-down imagery and often glossy surfaces. For this print, commissioned for the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics in London, he plays with abstraction. The large, circular form in Capital  could represent the wheel of a wheelchair or a large cheering mouth, while the small black disc resembles a tennis ball suspended in a green and leafy space. The word ‘Capital’ appears to have more than one meaning, a literal reference to London as the first city, a salute to the idea of the Games and also to the wealth of talent celebrating sport in the summer of 2012.


    This work is typical of the way Hume uses imagery that is organic or relates to the human form, which he reduces to varying degrees of abstraction. He is content for individual viewers to bring their own interpretations to the works – an artistic equivalent of the psychological Rorschach test, where the subject is presented with various ink blots and asked to explain what they resemble. Hume appropriates many of his sources from the world of mass and popular culture. Yet although his works often have specific sources, he has commented that his primary aim is to make works which are pleasurable to look at. As art critic Louisa Buck has written, Hume ‘…relishes the instant appeal of the unashamedly aesthetic’.


    This work is part of a set of limited-edition prints, commissioned from some of the UK’s most critically acclaimed artists to celebrate London hosting the 2012 Olympic Games and Paralympics. A set of these prints was presented to the Government Art Collection.

  • About the artist
    Gary Hume is one of the generation of ‘Young British Artists’ who rose to prominence in the late 1980s. He studied at Goldsmiths College in London from 1985 to 1988, participating in the landmark exhibition Freeze, curated by fellow student Damien Hirst. He was nominated for the Turner Prize in 1996 and in the same year represented Britain at the São Paulo Bienal. Two years later, he represented Britain at the Venice Biennale. Since then he has had solo exhibitions at institutions across Europe, including the Kestnergesellschaft in Hanover, Tate Britain in London, Kunsthaus Bregenz in Austria, the Irish Museum of Modern Art in Dublin, Modern Art Oxford, and Museum Dhondt-Dhaenens in Deurle, Belgium. Hume lives and works in London and Accord, New York.
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    olympic games
    Materials & Techniques
  • Details
    Portfolio Title
    London 2012
    HDC 2/10
    height: 76.00 cm, width: 60.00 cm
    Presented by the London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games, October 2011
    bl: HDC 2/10 ; bc: CAPITAL ; br: HUME 2011
    London Organising Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games (gift)
    GAC number