Hannah Perry at Kunstverein Hamburg

Artist: Hannah Perry

Exhibition title: A Smashed Window and an Empty Room

Venue: Kunstverein Hamburg, Hamburg, Germany

Date: February 16– April 28, 2019

Photography: all images copyright and courtesy of the artist, Kunstverein Hamburg

The Kunstverein in Hamburg is pleased to present the first institutional solo exhibition by British artist Hannah Perry in Germany. Perry’s artistic practice encompasses sculptures, installations, videos, and performances and often draws on her own memories and experience. By layering and superimposing various materials and content, she presents multiperspectival works that dissect the essence of personal memories in today’s hyper technological and networked society. A Smashed Window and an Empty Room deals with the impact of trauma on mental and emotional health as well as conditions and consequences of human interactions.

Perry’s visual language utilizes coded and gendered industrial materials which reflect on the landscape and demographics that shaped her upbringing in the North of England. She is particularly drawn to materials from the steel industry, making most of her sculptural work with her father, an industrial metal fabricator.

The expansive sculpture Rage Fluids (2018) consists of several curved steel frames covered with chrome-colored vinyl foils usually used for car tuning. The reflecting surface is set in motion by subwoofers, so visitors perceive a constantly distorted image of themselves and their environment. The sculpture stems from Perry’s ongoing interest in the automobile industry and the cult surrounding it, which at times resembles a fetish and is often linked to specific notions of masculinity. In Rage Fluids, Perry examines an analogy between human body and car with the pulsating chrome foil echoing skin as a permeable membrane separating the body from internal struggles. At the same time, the vibrating chrome can be read as the aftershock of the exterior of a car following a crash.

The sculpture is associated with the 360° film GUSH (2018), which engages with the highs and lows of everyday and life-changing events, the universal in personal pain and the feeling of inner turmoil in moments of shock. The narrative and filmic perspectives are constantly disrupted, meandering between immersive 360° shots and conventional frontal views. The film candidly explores immense grief, pain and loss and coming to terms with it against the backdrop of the tragic suicide of a close friend and collaborator of Perry.

For this exhibition, Perry created the new hydraulic sculpture BULLY (2019) that evokes moments of violence, tenderness and intimacy through a mechanized dance with itself. Movement simulators choreograph the actions of two curved metal bodies. Harmonious interactions between the two elements are juxtaposed to repeated moments of confrontation. Through their clashes, the sculptural forms gradually destroy their polished surfaces, so that during the course of the exhibition the signs of wear caused by their interactions and confrontations become increasingly evident.

Hannah Perry (*1984 in Chester, lives and works in London) studied at Goldsmiths College and the Royal Academy of Art in London. She has shown internationally at solo and group exhibitions, among others at Towner Art Gallery, Eastbourne, Somerset House, London, and KM – Künstlerhaus, Halle für Kunst und Medien in Graz (all 2018), MoMA Warsaw and L’inconnue in Montreal (both 2017), Fotomuseum Winterthur and Saatchi Gallery, London (both 2016). Perry has developed performances for the Park Nights of the Serpentine Gallery in London and others.