LONDON––Tate Britain presents The Squash (March 22 – October 7, 2018), an immersive, tile-covered installation combining performance and sculpture by 2016 Turner Prize nominee Anthea Hamilton. The exhibition is part of Sotheby’s annual Tate Britain Commission, which invites contemporary British artists to create innovative new sculptural artwork in the setting of England’s first public gallery designed specifically for such displays––the Duveen Galleries.
For her installation, Tate Britian writes, Hamilton transformed the space into an elaborate arena for a continuous 6-month performance by a delightfully dressed squash inhabitant. Setting the stage are more than 7,000 white floor tiles, which traverse the vast length of, and juxtapose, the neoclassical galleries. They also make up a varied series of large structures, which not only serve as staging areas for Hamilton’s squash character, but also as plinths for a number of artworks from Tate’s collection, chosen by the artist for their organic forms and colors.
“Anthea Hamilton has made a unique contribution to British and International Art with her visually playful works that both provoke and delight. This compelling commission demonstrates her ability to seamlessly weave together captivating images and narratives, creating rich new environments in which to encounter works of art.” ––Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain.
Influenced by early 20th century French writer and dramatist Antonin Artaud and his call for the ‘physical knowledge of images’, it is this bodily response to an idea or an image which Hamilton strives to examine in The Squash. Each element of the work has evolved from Hamilton’s interest in a found photograph, for which the original source has since been lost. Thus, the viewer is invited to imagine its history and intention, through the artist’s employment of tile, structure, sculptures and costume.
Hamilton designed seven costumes in collaboration with LOEWE Creative Director Jonathan Anderson which draw from the colors and shapes of varieties of squash or pumpkin. Performers will select a costume each day, informing and reflecting their individual interpretation of the character as they inhabit the space.
Anthea Hamilton is renowned for her bold, often humorous works which incorporate references from the worlds of art, design, fashion and popular culture. She has exhibited widely with recent large-scale, site-specific installations including her Turner Prize nominated exhibition Lichen! Libido! Chastity! at the SculptureCenter in New York, re-staged at Tate Britain in 2016, and Anthea Hamilton Reimagines Kettle’s Yard at The Hepworth Wakefield.
Tate Britain Commission 2018: Anthea Hamilton is curated by Linsey Young, Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate, with Sofia Karamani, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate.
Text (edited) and images from Tate Britian.