Artist who shunned success to hold first solo exhibition

Nicholas Fudge artist to show at the Observer Building
Nicholas Fudge artist to show at the Observer Building

The eyes of the art world will be on Hastings next month when the work of artist Nicholas Fudge goes on show for the first time in over 25 years.

Fudge is seen by many as “the Missing YBA” and so his return with his first ever solo show is naturally causing a stir in the contemporary art world.

He was part of the group of Young British Artists which included names such as Damien Hirst, Sarah Lucas, Gary Hume, and Tracy Emin.

He originally trained as a graphic designer and illustrator at Barnet College before going on to study fine art at Goldsmiths’ College. Fudge was considered one of the brightest emerging artists but on the eve of his Goldsmiths degree show he decided to destroy his art and walk away from that arena, moving to the US and although he was still creating work, he never showed exhibited.

Since the dawn of Cool Britannia and the YBA phenomenon, he has remained absent. The artist has chosen a different journey and reality from his contemporaries, and has since been creating a work of art out of his own life journey – the ultimate Reality Drive.

He commented: “I knew the rest of my group {of graduates} were excited by the prospect that we would take Cork Street by storm, but I didn’t want to do that. I could feel myself becoming a product, my work and my style entirely becoming defined by the galleries and agents and I so I left.”

For all these years Fudge has never shown his work to anyone and kept his entire output stored away on an out-dated computer hard drive, on an Mac operating system that is almost entirely impossible to use by anyone with a modern laptop. He has literally locked his work away from the modern world - hidden in plain sight within the most “modern” of archiving systems.

Reality Drive this month at the Observer Building (23-28 April) offers a debate about art and computers, and reveals different techniques from digital printing to painting. Fudge, strongly influenced by the conceptual artist Marcel Duchamp, wants his very first solo show to question the role of the artist in today’s computer driven world and to ask - having not shown his work for 25 years, Fudge is questioning the fundamental question - is an artist still an artist if they don’t show their work?

“I always wanted to keep true to Duchamp’s philosophy – and question the very core of what it is to be an artist, to question the very fundamental element of art: if an artist’s work is never shown, is he still an artist?”

The Observer Building Hastings - which is rapidly establishing its name as one of the most progressive arts venues in the UK - announces a solo show of the work of this amazing artist for the very first time.

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