Materialising the Somewhat Immaterial Aspects of Existence: Installations and Sculptures by Richard Hughes

Working with a diverse range of materials, objects and processes, Manchester-based artist Richard Hughes (born 1987) creates sculptures and installations that mainly deal with concepts of memory, time, hope, aspiration and what it generally means to be a man in the world today.

He writes on his themes: “I take my inspiration from a wide spectrum. The work I produce goes about materialising the somewhat immaterial aspects of human existence. The work is designed using intriguing juxtapositions and shifts the viewer’s perceptions to create original, emotive and engaging interaction.”

Adding: “I am interested in the idea of the ‘anti-romantic’, and how history seems so more interesting, idealised, romantic and captivating than the present, and for me, the future. I explore the idea of time, particularly in relation to memory, I am interested in our emotional relationship with memory within the new, modern and digital age.”

Richard’s pieces offer no easy interpretations. They give solidity, shape and colour to deep and complex human feelings and thoughts, and can be decoded in any number of ways. Two interesting artworks are “Friends From Here On After” and “The Easy Conclusion to The Matter Which Threatens Us”. The first consists of a collection of 12 pastel green soap bars with thin, dark worm-like tail-like protrusions. What does this mean? The unity of friendship that is occasioned by an act of mischief? The second shows a white board with the words “JUST TRY NOT TO THINK ABOUT IT” rising out of a hill of black rocks. This one is more direct—a rather humorous way of tackling worry, just empty your mind for a while, shut it down.

Friends From Here On After, 2017. Soap, rubber, wood, paint, fixings. 290x 220x 45mm


The Easy Conclusion To The Matter Which Threatens Us, 2015. Installation View-Serpentine-Thomas Sackler Gallery. Dimensions Variable.


Recent venues where Richard has exhibited include: MarlerKunststern (Essen, Germany), Castlefield Gallery (Manchester, UK), Art Hub (London, UK), Assembly House (Leeds, UK), B&D Studios (Newcastle, UK), Kunsthal 45 (Den Helder, the Netherlands)  and Scaffold Gallery (Manchester, UK).

Tim Marlow, Head of Artistic Programs and Exhibitions at the Royal Academy, has said of his art: “There’s both melancholy and humour in Richard Hughes’s work which explores (and sometimes unravels) the idea of sculpture as memorial. His work is physically engaging but intellectually subtle and quietly questioning too.”

Links: Website ( | Saatchi Art (

Images used with permission.


I Used To Know it Well 2014. Heras fencing, rubber feet, fixing clips, globe, electrical components, coal. 2400x2400x1800mm


The Feast Of Each Other, 2017. Wood, light fittings, cable, paint, yoga balls, cast lamb chops, enamel. 2000×2000, variable height.


A Low Blow From My Lover, 2016. Ceramic, Enamel. Dimensions variable/each unit 265x150x120mm


Everybody Stays Here, Dreams Just Fade Away, 2015. Light fixtures, bulbs, enamel, satin wood, wood, fixings, cable, white tuxedo. 3060x2060x280mm


I’ll Probably Cry, 2016. Unfired Clay, Epoxy Resin, Enamel. Oak Faced MDF plinth. 290x230x140m


Last Time This Was Fun 2016. Wood, paint, ceramic, spray paint, ink, T-shirt. 1100x1150x120mm


None Of Us Are Cute, 2017. Dimensions Variable. Plaster, polystyrene, polyurethane resin, paint, fabric, milkshake cups, straws, video, television. Castlefield Gallery.


Betrayal Of The Illusion (Creep.), 2017. Found Shoe, paint, ceramic, plaster, polystyrene, hessian, adhesive. Shoe size 9, real scale ceramic softball, exaggerated soul, 670mmx390x210mm


Gently, 2017. Plastic, cotton hat, spray paint, polystyrene, fixings. variable dimensions (real scale).


Spend A Day With Your Hero (Waste Some time), 2016. Fine casting plaster. Cast western hat, cast playing cards. Full scale hat and playing cards, variable arrangement.


When I’m Inside You, Who Do I Belong Too? (I’m A Physical Colour), 2016. Wood, satinwood paint, adhesive, fixings, felt, ceramic, enamel. 2250x1723x144mm.


I Could Have Been A Prince (Sure Shot), 2015. Paint, metal bracket, plastic, net. Actual scale.


I’ll Still Love You, 2015. Bed Sheet, stitched text, acrylic, wood, paint, mirror. 400x400x400mm


Follow Suit (My Fathers Heroes Are All Dead.), 2014 metal, acrylic/perspex, inkjet print, light fixings, enamel. 1345x900x300mm