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anthea hamilton

Mash Up

M HKA, Antwerp
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Mash Up

Mash Up, the first major survey exhibition of works by British artist Anthea Hamilton, will open at M HKA in February 2022.

For nearly two decades, Anthea Hamilton has developed a complex practice that spans sculpture, installation and performance. Hamilton dives without restraint into the meandering history of visual and cultural production, using her eye as a both subjective and productive lens through which to view (and recreate) the world. Her installations—which combine unexpected materials, scale and humour—propose an alternative and fragmented reality where gender roles, sexualities, food, domestic life, nature, and the traditions of different cultures, all rescind their status of firmly established clichés and become fluid notions. Hamilton’s practice therefore relies on a strong belief in cohabitation, complexity and, by extension, imagination, positing the artworks’ ontological ambiguity as a means to constantly challenge our perceived realities.

Using the “mash up” as her method, she masterfully filters and assesses elements culled from the present and recent past of fashion, art, food, nature, design, architecture and pop culture. She then resituates what we might otherwise consider familiar or comforting tropes and motifs in a continuous bid to sidestep obvious and hegemonic meanings.

Influenced by the early 20th century French writer and dramatist Antonin Artaud and his call for the “physical knowledge of images”, Hamilton aims to elicit a bodily response to an idea or an image when we encounter her works. The artist is best known for creating compelling and immersive large-scale statement pieces in which bodies, images, materials and spaces perform under the terms and conditions of a particular frame.

Mash Up draws a comprehensive and precise picture of a practice characterised by devotional creativity, unexpected research trajectories, highly visual aesthetics, cross cultural interests, and interdisciplinary modes of production. Hamilton’s exhibition invites us to think about the knowledge of forms and images, and raises relevant questions on representation, identity politics, and methodologies of freedom.