Angus Fairhurst, one of the group of “Young British Artists” who stormed the international art scene in the 1990s, has died. He was 41.
Fairhurst’s spokeswoman Erica Bolton said Monday that the artist committed suicide Saturday during a walk in a remote part of Scotland. She did not specify how he died.
Born in 1966 in Penbury, southern England, Fairhurst studied at London’s Goldsmiths College in the 1980s, where his contemporaries included Damien Hirst, Gary Hume and Sarah Lucas.
They and their work — first exhibited in the 1988 exhibition “Freeze” — were central to the group of provocative and playful young artists dubbed the “Young British Artists.” Patronage by collector Charles Saatchi and intense media attention brought riches and fame to several of the group, notably Hirst and Tracey Emin.
Fairhurst had a lower profile, but his paintings, sculptures and installations were exhibited around the world. His work was included in the 2000 “Apocalypse” exhibition at the Royal Academy and in 2004, Fairhurst, Lucas and Hirst collaborated on the “In-A-Gadda-Da-Vida” show at Tate Britain.
Fairhurst’s last show was at London’s Sadie Coles gallery last month.
Tate director Nicholas Serota said Fairhurst “made some of the most engaging, witty and perceptive works of his generation and was an enormously influential friend of other British artists who came to prominence in the early ’90s. We shall all miss him greatly.”
Hirst called Fairhurst a great artist and friend.
“He always supported me, in fair weather and foul,” Hirst said. “He shone like the moon and as an artist he had just the right amount of slightly round the bend. I loved him.”
Strathclyde Police said the body of a 41-year-old man — believed to be Fairhurst — had been found in woodland in the Scottish Highlands on Saturday afternoon. They added that an autopsy would be made and said that foul play was not suspected.
Fairhurst is survived by his mother, Sally, and brother, Charles. Funeral details were not immediately available.