DEEPER

ALASTAIR THAIN

HEMPSTEAD MAY GALLERY, LONDON

17 September - 18 January 19

Monday - Friday

10am - 5pm


  Andy Warhol, New York, 1986

Andy Warhol, New York, 1986

“My very first impression of New York, was with Andy Warhol. I got off the fight from the United kingdom with my only knowledge of the city gained by watching the film Taxi Driver, checked into the Chelsea Hotel, went to a few parties before hooking up that night with Andy. A first impression of the city that effected me deeply, and gave me a lasting love for New York. I decided to ask Andy to pose with one of the objects that he made his icons. I had the option to ask him to sign a range of objects. In the spirit of a “Warholian” throw away gesture I asked him to sign the banana. I ate it on the way home and lobbed the skin into a passing bin from a new York taxi, with a sense of regret, of my previous decision.”

Alastair Thain

Hempstead May is pleased to present “Deeper”, an exhibition of large format fine art prints celebrating the portraiture of Alastair Thain.

After a decade of separation, Alastair Thain and Hempstead May founders, Jon Hempstead and India May have immersed themselves in a collaboration of Thain’s diverse archive and the marriage of Hempstead & May’s unparalleled knowledge of colour and print. An archive of unearthed negatives beautifully brought back to life, Deeper is the first piece of a puzzle showcasing the formidable Alastair Thain.

Born in Dusseldorf in 1961 at the height of the cold war, Thain’s creative practice was infuenced, in particular by the work of Joseph Beuys and the modes of communication Beuys developed to express his social healing, egalitarian, social, environmental and political concerns.

In the early 1980’s Thain was introduced to New York by Robert Mapplethorpe. Thain worked within the downtown scene, witnessing some of the city’s bleakest years and engrossed himself into the artistic movement generated by a creative shift that was far freer and more democratic than it is today. During this period, Thain took the last portrait of Andy Warhol and was with Stephen Hawkins when he announced that “There was no need for a god to create the universe”. In the midst of these seminal moments, Thain, photographed and exchanged ideas with many artists including Jeff Koons, Gilbert & George, Cy Twombly, Francis Bacon and Jean Michael Basquiat to name a few.

Wanting to use the opportunities he had been given to make work that was a vector for empathy, Thain sought to connect the viewer with the experiences of individuals he was photographing. Thain designed and built some of the most advanced film cameras ever made and produced spontaneous, highly reactive portraits that captured the emotional states of his subjects, with unprecedented scale, depth and power.

“The only way to push the technical boundaries of portraiture in ways that attempted to emulate the achievements of the artists that I most admired was by building the cameras. There was simply no other path to take that could deliver similar results.” – AT

The works in this first exhibition with Hempstead May bringing together portraits of some of the most significant and influential Artists of the last 30 years.


ALASTAIR THAIN