This Autumn, Somerset House showcases a new body of work by British artist and Somerset House Studios resident Hannah Perry, in her first major UK solo exhibition since 2015.
GUSH presents a captivating and poignant exhibition featuring large-scale dynamic sculpture, sound and film, in a candid and personal exploration of mental and emotional health in our contemporary, hyper-networked society.
Central to the exhibition is an immersive film, created using a custom rigged 360° camera built by Perry, that surrounds viewers with the contorted, continuously shifting movement of bodies. The film is narrated with fragmented spoken word that ebbs and flows with the images, summoning the highs and lows of both the everyday and life changing events, including the impact trauma and grief can have on our physical and mental state.
In an intensely personal yet universal exploration of the experience of loss, the installation marks the first time Perry has chosen to address the tragedy of the recent suicide of her best friend and artistic collaborator, Pete Morrow. Morrow’s diaristic writing and verse provide the basis for her moving inquiry into romance, psychosis and our relationship to death, along with the words of young people from London South East College, Plumstead, who Perry met through a series of workshops at Somerset House.
A compelling, original instrumental score written in collaboration with a cross-disciplinary ensemble of contemporary musicians, including award-winning composers Mica Levi, Coby Sey and London Contemporary Orchestra, accompanies these words and visual images, mirroring their rhythms and repetitions.
Elsewhere in the exhibition, Perry’s signature trope of car modification manifests in Rage Fluids, a pulsating audio sculpture incorporating stretched car body wrap and subwoofer speakers, enabling sound frequencies to create distorted patterns upon the mirrored surface of the sculpture, altering the viewer’s reflected self and surroundings.
Further new works include a site-specific hydraulic sculpture that suggests moments of violence, tenderness and intimacy through mechanised interaction. In two new wall-based works, Perry combines her distinctive silk screen printing technique for image and text with digital photographs, car lacquer and painting.
On 5 October, Perry debuts a new performance work created as a companion piece to the exhibition. Performers will execute movement choreographed by Perry, in relation to orchestral live music and spoken word.
A special late night opening of GUSH follows the performance on 5 October, as part of Somerset House Studios’ inaugural Annual General Meeting (AGM).
[Credits: Feature image – Hannah Perry (Somerset House); Somerset House Press Office]