Hook launches 10-year retrospective collection in Mayfair
Christian Hook launched his newest collection marking the past 10 years of his career in the Clarendon in Mayfair on Thursday evening.
The collection of over 20 pieces called ‘The Anatomy of a Concept’ is a 10-year retrospective, with most works already sold to buyers before the launch.
The event was packed out with a guest list of 650 people and included Gibraltarians who flew over just the attend the launch.
Mr Hook told the Chronicle this was his most successful exhibition yet.
“The [former Director at the National Galleries of Scotland] Christopher Baker had a live Q&A with me where he said that my philosophical way of discovering a person in painting had changed what portraiture meant in our time,” Mr Hook said.
“Also the paintings were lit up with ultraviolet lights from the ground making the neon colours glow.”
The collection sees Mr Hook look back at subjects, which include equestrian scenes, figures and geishas, but with a difference.
The neon hues in his new collection mark an evolution from his previous works.
"My grandmother, the late Conchita Rocca, was born in Malaga, so I decided to move there for a while to find something, although I didn't know what it was I was searching for,” Mr Hook said.
“What I found was colour."
Those same hues were recently spotted in his work on Sky Arts ‘Portrait Artist of the Decade’ where his portrait of Dame Judi Dench was selected as her pick to take home.
This painting is now being exhibited in the National Portrait Gallery in London, where it will remain for a few weeks.
The exhibition in the Mayfair gallery on Thursday night was a sold-out event and many of the works were sold before the launch.
The pieces sold for around £170,000 to £350,000 and are in smaller canvas sizes than in past exhibitions, meaning the prices have effectively doubled.
“Jesse Trinidad was flown over from Gibraltar to play his electronic music so people could experience the paintings in the way they were made, as my aim was to paint electronic music,” Mr Hook said.
Mr Hook asked Mr Trinidad to DJ at the exhibition opening as the creation of his art is intertwined with music.
"I spent a lot of time listening to music while working on the Neón pieces and, with the painting 'Electrónica', it was 'Arnika's Way-Aera remix' (Jesse Trinidad),” he said.
“The title refers to the symbiotic relationship between electronic music and neon paint and, by pairing the two, I was able to explore a new way to expand my own visual language."
Over the past 10 years, Mr Hook has become a sought-after artist internationally, with high-profile clientele and his works hung in major London galleries and museums.
The new collection includes original paintings and limited editions, and the publication of his new commemorative book.
2023 has been an extraordinary year for Mr Hook, who has said has been one of his most successful years yet.
He has released three critically acclaimed collections, 'Shinme I', 'Shinme II' and 'Neón', as well as publishing his second book.
His award-winning portrait of Alan Cumming was chosen by the V&A for inclusion in their exhibition celebrating tartan, as well as his painting being selected by Dame Judi Dench for her own personal collection.