Biography of Angus Fairhurst
Although a quieter member of the Young British Artists (YBAs), Fairhurst was one of the most influential and perceptive. Since his death in 2008 his reputation has been on the rise and he is now being recognized as an engaging and extremely witty artist. His work was imbued with an incisive and anti-establishment sense of humor as well as an innate awareness of form. One of his most observant works, Gallery Connections, 1991 involved the setting up of phones in prominent galleries around London so that they were only able to talk to each other. The conversation between the hapless workers at the Royal Academy and the Tate for instance, began with bemusement before descending into downright hostility. Not only was this a hilarious swipe against the cliquey nature of gallery life but it was also a scathing attack on the elitist, nepotistic, and incestuous nature of the art world as a whole.
Born in Kent in 1966, Fairhurst frequently used the motif of gorillas in his work, casting them in bronze and even dressing up as one. Fairhurst committed suicide in 2008, on the last day of a prestigious London exhibition, just as he was receiving the critical attention he had for so long deserved. His finely crafted multiples and editions are beautifully presented and are a monument to a visionary artist whose life was tragically cut short.
Fairhurst curated the first YBAs' show at the Bloomsbury Gallery in 1988—a close forerunner to the more recognized Freeze show curated by Damien Hirst in which Fairhurst also featured. He would collaborate again with his close friend Damien Hirst and one-time partner Sarah Lucas in the exhibition In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida at Tate Britain in 2004. Fairhurst's work is in the permanent collection of the Tate as well as many other collections. The Tate is also in possession of his video and animation archive.