Responding to a society dominated by social media, British artist and Somerset House studios resident Hannah Perry creates large-scale sculptures and immersive films engaging with ideas of emotional and mental health. In a timely show at Somerset House, London, entitled GUSH, the works come together to look at deeply personal and universal themes, engaging with the poignant human experience of loss.
The locus of the show is a 360° moving image work which surrounds audiences with distorted, continuously moving human forms. Narrated by fragmented spoken word poetry inspired by Perry’s own experiences, it looks to both everyday and life changing events, foregrounding the impact of trauma and grief – both internally and externally. Complemented by a compelling instrumental score that mirrors the rhythms and repetitions of the words and images, it offers a hypnotic and moving reflection on romance and society’s relationship to death.
The idea of visual distortion and refraction continues throughout the show. Rage Fluids, an audio sculpture incorporating fragments of a modified car, enables sound frequencies to create patterns upon its mirrored surface. When viewed, it alters perceptions, encouraging reflection on notions of the self. Further looking to the manmade for inspiration, other new works include a site-specific hydraulic piece demonstrating instances of both violence and intimacy through mechanised interactions.
Running concurrently at Somerset House, Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions by Athi-Patra Ruga presents three series of work by the South African artist. Offering a diverse selection of drawings, sculpture, tapestry, film and photography, the collection conjures a vibrant – and often surreal – vision of utopia. An allegory of post-apartheid political, cultural and social systems, Ruga’s world is inhabited by a series of intriguing characters, using mythic imagery to offer a bright vision of the future.
Hannah Perry: Gush is open until 4 November. Find out more here.
Athi-Patra Ruga: Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions is open until 6 January. Find out more here.
1. Liquid Language © Hannah Perry and Somerset House.
2. Installation views of Hannah Perry: Gush at Somerset House.