Richard Hassell is an Australian-born architect and artist who has lived in Singapore since 1989. He founded the architectural practice WOHA with Wong Mun Summ in 1994. WOHA has exhibited their work in the Venice Biennale in 2016 with a video installation entitled Fragments of an Urban Future and in New York at the Skyscraper Museum with Garden City | Mega City both in 2016. WOHA have received 11 President’s Design Awards, Singapore’s highest design accolade.In 2018 WOHA received the prize for the World Building of the Year at the World Architecture Festival for their mixed use project Kampung Admiralty.
Hassell’s art practice intersects with the architectural practice, and explores complex geometries and tiling. Growing up with his brother, mathematician Professor Andrew Hassell of the Analysis and Geometry Program at the National University of Australia, recreational mathematics including the art of M. C. Escher was an early source of delight and wonder.
Since 2004 Hassell has extended M. C. Escher’s work on tessellations and symmetry into new geometries discovered after Escher’s death. These complex geometries have also been incorporated into the designs of WOHA’s buildings. Hassell displayed 3 artworks at the Bridges Maths Art Conference in 2014 in Korea, and presented a research paper on plane-filling curves, here is the link to the conference publication.
Strange Creatures was first exhibited in Singapore at Arndt Fine Art from 28th October to 3rd December 2016. Two pieces were also part of the exhibition Journey to Infinity: Escher’s World of Wonder at the ArtScience Museum from Singapore between 24th September 2016 to February 2017.
In 2017 Hassell’s works were exhibited in Italy at the StadtGalerie Galleriy Civica of Brixen/Bressanone, in Portugal, at the Lisboa Museu da Arte Popular, in Madrid at the Palacio de Gaviria, in USA at the Deland Museum of Art and the Waterfall Gallery in New York. Textile works made with The Rugmaker of Singapore were exhibited in France at Maison et Objet, in a pavilion featuring a fractal design based on the art research..
In 2018 a large installation of over 20 pieces of Bats Birds and Butterflies was installed in the lobby of the SCBD Alila hotel in Jakarta, Indonesia, and Fractal Relativity was shown at the ArtScience Museum in Singapore between June and September. Rugs from the collection were shown in Italy at the Milano Salone di Mobile and in France at Maison et Objet. Works will be on display in Italy at the PAN – Palazzo delle Arti in Naples from November to April 2019. A large public artwork is incorporated into the facade of 480 Queen Street building in Brisbane, Australia, to be completed in 2020.
Hassell’s second solo show, Emergent Nets: Optical Sutras opened in Taipei, Taiwan at Gallery Sun in October to November 2018. At the same time, new works from Strange Creatures series debuted at Art Taipei 2018. A gallery of the works shown can be seen here at my site at artwork archive.
In 2019 the third solo show of Hassell opened in Taichung, Taiwan in January 2019 and runs to mid April. This show, Strange Creatures, Emergent Nets, combined works from both series and debuted new works including Pigs Might Fly I, an homage to Escher’s Sky and Water I, and Fireflies I.
Hassell’s works are in private and corporate collections in the United States, United Kingdom, Italy, New Zealand, Australia, Indonesia, India, Taiwan, Hong Kong and Singapore, and in the Australian National University collection.
A monograph on the works, Strange Creatures: Complex Tessellations was published in 2016. His art was highlighted in an article entitled “Repeat View” in Wallpaper magazine, October 2018, with an illustration of Fire Roosters I.
With the launch of WohaBeing, a lifestyle furniture brand in a tessellated pavilion in Paris and in Milan in 2017, Hassell is further blurring boundaries between art, textiles, furniture, objects and architecture. Upcoming events that demonstrate this translational research include a large public artwork incorporated into the facade of 443 Queen Street building in Brisbane, Australia, to be completed in 2020, a new solo show in Kaohsiung, Taiwan late in 2019, and installations in Australia, Singapore and Thailand in projects completing 2019 to 2020.