Wednesday 20 March 2019

Tate Britain unveils new installation: The Squash

The ‘immersive installation’ runs for six months at Tate’s grand Duveen Galleries.

A woman looks at a work by Anthea Hamilton, entitled The Squash (Yui Mok/PA)
A woman looks at a work by Anthea Hamilton, entitled The Squash (Yui Mok/PA)

By Sherna Noah, Press Association Senior Entertainment Correspondent

An artist best known for a giant sculpture of buttocks has unveiled a new work at Tate Britain – inspired by pumpkins.

Anthea Hamilton was catapulted into the spotlight when she was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2016.

Her latest “immersive installation” runs for six months at Tate’s grand Duveen Galleries.

It features a single performer, dressed in “a colourful squash-like costume” who moves around their “house” – a space covered in more than 7,000 white tiles.

In the morning, they select one of seven costumes, designed by the artist, to wear each day, “inspired by different kinds of squash or pumpkin”.

Onlookers watch as the performer moves around the space, which also displays works of art from Tate’s collection.

Curator Linsey Young said that artist Hamilton was inspired by the growth of a squash or pumpkin.

Onlookers watch Anthea Hamilton’s new work, The Squash (Yui Mok/PA)

She said of the performer: “You’re a guest in their space… They choose their costume each morning. Then they decide what they do.

“They decide when they have their breaks, when they have a nap, when they have a ‘bath’. They decide it all.”

The 14 performers – one attends each day – were selected following an open call.

They are all dancers, from the worlds of ballet to street dance.

“The most important thing to Anthea was their personalities,” Young said. “The performers will change the way (the space) feels.

“Sometimes it feels like a nightclub, others times it feels like a sauna or a kitchen or bathroom… This environment is almost like their house.”

Asked how people might react to slow-moving, pumpkin-like forms at Tate Britain, she said: “Any response you have is valid as long as it’s respectful of the performers.

“There’s a lot of love and attention being put into making this environment feel transformative.”

Tate Britain Commission 2018: Anthea Hamilton The Squash opens on Thursday and runs until October 7 at Tate Britain.

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