Sensory Spaces is a series of commissioned solo projects presented in the Willem van der Vorm Gallery, located in the freely accessible exhibition space in the mu-seum’s entrance hall. Artists are invited to respond to the architectural qualities of the space, emphasizing notions of transformation and surprise.
For the thirteenth edition of the Sensory Spaces series the British artist Anne Hardy will present a new site-specific FIELD work. Anne Hardy makes large-scale installations in which objects, light, color and sound seem to take on a life of their own. She invites visitors to enter this ‘sentient space’ and to experience how the work slowly changes around them. Things can appear concrete and familiar but everything feels slightly unreal.
Anne Hardy initially gained recognition for her photographs of staged spaces: spaces she built in her studio, photographed and then demolished. The resulting photographs depict complex, imaginary environments that suggest that something has taken place, though exactly what is unclear. Since 2013 she has presented the physical installations themselves under the term ‘FIELD’ works. This shift in presentation stems from her desire to remove the barrier between the work and the viewer that was inherent in the photographs. In the FIELD works, visitors are immersed in the artwork, which speaks to all their senses. This begins the moment visitors enter these ‘walk-in’ works and are asked to remove their shoes. Hardy encourages visitors towards a sensitive experience of the work and hopes that visitors will be receptive to new experiences. For Sensory Spaces 13, Anne Hardy will create a new ‘FIELD’ work.
Take, for example, the installation 'Falling and Walking (phhhhhhhhhhh phossshhhhh crrhhhhzzz mn huaooogh)', which Hardy made for London Art Night 2017. Visitors stepped through a hole in a billboard to arrive in a bright green room, followed by a bright pink room with rotating electric fans, curtains of video tape, flattened beer cans, concrete blocks, balls, twigs and a sloping wall with a circular opening affording a glimpse of the next space.
Hardy refers to her works as ‘sentient places’. They are partly architectural, partly organic and their carefully created audio scores and lighting fluctuate and change over time. ‘The tactile engagement with material, light and process is at the core of my practice, and I want the work to have an active presence that changes around you.'
‘The tactile engagement with material, light and process is at the core of my practice, and I want the work to have a sense that it is an active presence that changes around you.'
Hardy finds many of the materials, objects and sounds for her FIELD works on the street: things that have been discarded and have lost their original function. Hardy believes they are therefore in some way free of language and order and suitable for new uses and meanings. They have become essentially ‘ambiguous’ in the sense that they have the possibility of containing two or more ideas simultaneously. Hardy thinks in the same way about space and has an inventory of places that also have this feeling: street corners, or a piece of land between two roads, or an empty corridor. They are places that are both strange and familiar, floating between the real and the imaginary. It is precisely this ambiguity that Hardy captures in her ‘Fields’. They have something magical – something you have to experience but which is also hard to put into words. In Hardy’s own words, they make us aware of ‘the slippery nature of our perception of the world’.
Hannah Duguid wrote about Anne Hardy's work in The Independent: "Hardy achieves a degree of magic with her installation, which is very difficult to do. Plenty of solipsistic installation artists out there tediously fling objects together with results that never quite work. Hardy’s installations possess a complexity and pleasure that put her in a class of her own."
Biography Anne Hardy
Anne Hardy (1970, England) lives and works in London, where she studied at the Royal College of Art. Her work has been exhibited internationally, with recent solo exhibitions at The Common Guild, Glasgow (2015), fig-2 at ICA Studio, London (2015), Kunstverein Freiburg (2014), Maureen Paley (2013), Secession Vienna (2012) and group exhibitions at the Hayward Gallery, the Victoria and Albert Museum and Barbican Art Gallery in London.
Guest curator: Nina Folkersma
In 2014 she created a new performance during a residency as part of Modern Art Oxford’s Live in the Studio series, and in 2011 she was artist in residence at Camden Arts Centre in London. Anne Hardy is represented by Maureen Paley, London.