Tate Britain
22 March – 7 October 2018

Supported by Sotheby’s
With additional support from Simon and Midge Palley

Anthea Hamilton The Squash, install view 

Anthea Hamilton The Squash, install view
Photo: © Tate (Matt Greenwood)

Tate Britain today unveils The Squash, an immersive installation combining performance and sculpture by 2016 Turner Prize nominee Anthea Hamilton. The Squash has been created for the annual Tate Britain Commission, supported by Sotheby’s, which invites contemporary British artists to create new artwork in response to the grand space of the Duveen Galleries.

Anthea Hamilton has transformed the heart of Tate Britain into an elaborate stage for the continuous 6-month performance of a single character, dressed in a colourful squash-like costume. Over 7,000 white floor tiles have been laid to span the length of the Duveens and encase a series of large structures that serve as podiums for a number of works of art from Tate’s collection, chosen by Hamilton for their organic forms and colours. The tiles create an immersive new environment within the neoclassical galleries.

The artist is influenced by the 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 that she wishes 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. The viewer must imagine its history and intention and it is here the artist brings together tiles, structures, sculptures and costumes, inviting the performer to explore their own interpretation of the image. Hamilton has designed seven costumes in collaboration with Creative Director Jonathan Anderson at the fashion house LOEWE, that incorporate the colours and shapes of varieties of squash or pumpkin. Performers will select a costume each day, informing and reflecting their individual presentation 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.

Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, said:

‘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 Branczik, Sotheby's Head of Contemporary Art, Europe said:

‘Every year the ambition, inventiveness and sheer scale of the Tate Britain Commission captivates visitors to the magnificent Duveen Galleries. This year, we are proud to be celebrating the eleventh anniversary of our support for the commission, which is as unmissable as ever with Anthea Hamilton’s remarkable installation.’

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.

About the Tate Britain Commission

Tate Britain Commission 2018: Anthea Hamilton is the latest in a series of contemporary commissions for Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries which address the heritage of the space as a sculpture gallery. Artists are invited to develop a new work in response to the grand space of Tate Britain’s neo-classical Duveen Galleries. Artists who have previously undertaken commissions in the Duveens at Tate Britain include Cerith Wyn Evans (2017), Pablo Bronstein (2016), Christina Mackie (2015), Phyllida Barlow (2014), Simon Starling (2013), Patrick Keiller (2012), Fiona Banner (2010), Eva Rothschild (2009), Martin Creed (2008), Mark Wallinger (2007), Michael Landy (2004), Anya Gallaccio (2002) and Mona Hatoum (2000).

About Sotheby's

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris. Beyond the auction room, Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, as well as private sale opportunities, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby's Contemporary Art department, and two retail businesses, Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine. In 2016, Sotheby’s created the Museum Network, which offers users a platform to discover and engage with exhibitions, collections, videos and stories from hundreds of museums across the globe. 2017 then saw the launch of The Sotheby's Prize, an annual award of up to $250,000, to support and encourage museums to break new ground. The grant aims to recognize curatorial excellence, and to facilitate exhibitions that explore under-represented areas of art history. Sotheby’s has a global network of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).

About Loewe

Founded in 1846 in Madrid, LOEWE began as a cooperative of leather artisans and is part of LVMH. In 2014, newly-appointed creative director Jonathan Anderson launched a reconfiguration of the brand, reinterpreting its core values and visual identity for today. His acclaimed ready-to-wear and accessories collections for the house are presented during Men’s and Women’s Fashion Week in Paris. By connecting past and present with cultural awareness and a timely edit of products, Anderson is creating a template for the future.

About Anthea Hamilton

Anthea Hamilton was born in London in 1978 and studied at Leeds Metropolitan University and the Royal College of Art. Her solo exhibitions and performances include: Anthea Hamiton Re-imagines Kettle’s Yard, Hepworth Wakefield, UK (2016), LOVE IV: COLD SHOWER (with Nicholas Byrne), Schinkel Pavillion, Berlin, Germany (2016); Lichen! Libido! Chastity! SculptureCenter, New York, USA (2015); House, Oslo, Norway (2015) LET’S GO, Bloomberg SPACE, London, UK (2013); Sorry I’m Late, Firstsite, Colchester, UK (2012); Kabuki, Performance Year Zero, The Tanks, Tate Modern, London, UK (2012); LOVE (with Nicholas Byrne), Frieze Projects East, London, UK (2012); Open Set, IBID Projects, London, UK (2011); Gymnasium, Chisenhale Gallery, London, UK (2008); and Cut-Outs, Galerie Fons Welters, Amsterdam (2007). She has participated in numerous group exhibitions that most recently include: British Art Show 8, Hayward Touring (2015-2017); Chance Encounters, LOEWE Foundation, Miami, USA (2015-2016); La Vie Moderne, 13th Biennale de Lyon, Lyon, France (2016); TERRAPOLIS, NEON and the Whitechapel Gallery, Ecole de Francaise d’Athens, Athens, Greece (2015); 10th Gwangju Biennale: Burning Down the House, Gwangju, South Korea (2014); Notes on Neo Camp, Studio Voltaire, London, UK (2013).

For press information and images contact Kirsten.Cowie@tate.org.uk or call +44(0)20 7887 8732.