Emma Hart: Mamma Mia! at Whitechapel Gallery


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The Whitechapel Gallery presents a major exhibition by London-based artist Emma Hart (b. 1974) for the sixth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, a biannual award established in 2005 to champion women artists in the UK. The Prize is a collaboration between the Collezione Maramotti, Max Mara and the Whitechapel Gallery. Hart's new large-scale installation titled Mamma Mia! is the result of a six month bespoke residency which started in June 2016 and was divided between three Italian cities: Milan, Todi and Faenza. Hart presents a family of large ceramic heads, suggesting a dialogue with one other. Each sculpture is jug-like in shape: the spout mimics a nose and the opening a mouth. Produced by the artist in Faenza alongside ceramic artisans, each sculpture is glazed incorporating motifs, such as the speech bubble. The interior space of the heads is filled with vivid patterns, designed and hand-painted by Hart after researching the designs and practice of the Italian tradition of maiolica. Emma Hart's new work is the culmination of an investigation into pattern: visual patterns, and patterns of psychological behaviour, how to design then rupture these and the ruminations in between. The space between viewer and object is key, as ever in Hart's work, and is charged with the artist's particularly personal take on her experiences in Italy: the heat, light and colour, language and family dynamics in an unfamiliar setting. Throughout the residency, which was tailored to her practice and interests, Hart had access to lessons about the Milan Systems Approach, a systemic and constructivist method of family therapy at the Scuola Mara Selvini Palazzoli which involves physical re-enactments and the study of repeated actions. In Rome, Hart visited funerary monuments with Katherine Huemoeller, a researcher from Princeton University whose recent investigations has led Huemoeller to focus on gaining an understanding of family relationships and structures in ancient Rome. In Todi, Umbria, Hart discovered maiolica, traditional Italian tin-glazed pottery which provoked her to create the patterns in her work before ending her residency in Faenza where she began consolidating her research and experimenting with new ceramic techniques. For further press information and images contact: Collezione Maramotti: Maria Cristina Giusti, Rhiannon Pickles PR on +44 (0)7925810607/ +39 339 8090604 or email cristina@picklespr.com

Venue Details & Map

Whitechapel Art Gallery

80-82 Whitechapel High Street
E1 7QX
0207522 7888
Public transport:
Exit Aldgate East tube station and the gallery is next door.

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