The Fruitmarket Gallery were proud to present the first European solo exhibition of the work of Trenton Doyle Hancock. Born in 1974 in Oklahoma City, Hancock was raised and trained as an artist in Paris, Texas and Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was offered a solo exhibition by Dunn and Brown Contemporary in Dallas while he was still at art school, and the same year he became the youngest artist ever to be selected for the Biennale Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art in New York. He now lives and works in Houston, Texas, and his work has featured in important international exhibitions such as the 8th International Istanbul Biennale.
Hancock’s work is produced in the context of an epic, ongoing saga which turns autobiography into mythology in a classic battle between good and evil. On one side are the peace-loving Mounds, the illegitimate progeny of prehistoric ape man Homerbuctas and a flower meadow. On the other side are the evil Vegans, a race of in-bred descendants of Homerbuctas’s legitimate children, who are jealous of the Mounds’ relationship to their father and who have lost the ability to see in colour.
Hancock’s narrative unfolds episodically from exhibition to exhibition, the artist moving backwards and forwards in the histories of his characters to develop stories around them. Here, we are introduced to St. Sesom, a free-thinking Vegan minister, who begins to dream in colour. In one dream, it is pointed out to Sesom that Mounds and Vegans are descended from the same father and need not be enemies. Sesom is commanded to gather disciples together in The Blestian Room, to help other Vegans become human again by being friendly to Mounds. Sesom’s story is told through large-scale collaged paintings, prints, drawings, sculpture and incantations writ large on the Gallery walls. Hancock’s work is a submersive experience, his theatrical installations banishing pre-conceived ideas about art while thrusting the viewer literally and figuratively into his mythic drama.
The exhibition traveled to the Museum Boijmans Van Beuningen.