Anthea Hamilton was nominated for the 2016 Turner Prize for her first solo museum exhibition in the United States, Lichen! Libido! Chastity! at SculptureCenter, which featured new and existing works. Investigating cultural appropriation and pop culture, Hamilton mines countercultures in music, fashion, and design (such as disco in the 1970s) and their entrance into the mainstream. Hamilton questions the representation of cultural phenomena through popular media in her sculptures and videos.
A centerpiece of the exhibition, Project for door (After Gaetano Pesce), was a new commission inspired by a model made by Italian designer Gaetano Pesce in 1972. Originally intended to be a doorway for a Manhattan skyscraper, the work was never realized. Comprised of a man’s naked bottom, people would pass between his legs, which framed a doorway. In Hamilton’s version, she reinterpreted the model, creating a large-scale sculpture that referred to Pesce’s original idea but within a new context.
Avant-garde design, niche products, fandom, and expertise inspired Hamilton’s exhibition. Verging on the absurd, the works articulated perverse fantasies, intimately binding the body to products and things. In her works, desire is on the brink of obsession, conjuring the simultaneous discomfort of striving and potential for satisfaction inherent to a fixation on a particular thing. In Hamilton’s exhibition, objects that aspire to elegance and luxury were expressed through pleasure as well as constraint.
Hamilton (born 1978 in London, UK) is based in London and has had solo exhibitions at firstsite in Colchester, UK (2012); the Tanks at Tate Modern, London, UK (2012); and the Chisenhale, London, UK (2009). Recent group exhibitions include Don’t You Know Who I Am? – Art After Identity Politics at MuKHA, Antwerp (2014); the 10th Gwangju Biennale (2014); the Glasgow International (2014); and Better Homes (2013) at SculptureCenter.
The exhibition was curated by SculptureCenter Curator Ruba Katrib.
Anthea Hamilton: Lichen! Libido! Chastity! was supported in part by a grant from The Henry Moore Foundation and using public funding through the Artists’ International Development fund, which is jointly funded by the British Council and Arts Council England. Project for door (After Gaetano Pesce) (2015) was commissioned by SculptureCenter and fully supported by Valeria Napoleone.