Hannah Lees: The Turning Of Existence Into Its Opposite

2 Sep 2017 – 30 Sep 2017

Regular hours

12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00
12:00 – 18:00

Cost of entry


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Kingsgate Project Space

London, United Kingdom


Travel Information

  • Kilburn/West Hampstead
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The Turning Of Existence Into Its Opposite by Hannah Lees is an immersive project that is structured around an open studio artist residency, punctuated by a series of public events.


This residency will begin with the stripping of bark from a tree trunk. This activity is a durational performative artwork as well as a means to measure the passing of time and a duty of penance.

During the residency, themes of hermitage and pilgrimage will be explored, as well as the figures of Mary Magdalene and Mary of Egypt, and scenes and characters from the film franchise ‘ Star Wars ’.

The exhibition attempts to address how we as people and citizens can move forward. Plato’s ‘ Allegory of the Cave ’  from The Republic will be the starting point for unpacking ideas around recuperation and regeneration. Throughout history, religion and mythology, there are many examples of a character choosing a period of retreat or self - exploration in order to return to civilisation when the time is right. Instead of a period of isolation, Lees ’ time will be played-out in public with gallery visitors witness to its discoveries.

Event programme:

Opening event ­— What behaviour are you going to do, rather than what are you not going to do?

Friday 1 September 6-9pm

Join us for bread and wine whilst the film Kailash by Popul Vuh and Florian Fricke is screened. Kailash documents Florian Fricke and filmmaker Frank Fiedler’s (an original founding member of Popol Vuh ) spiritual voyage to Tibet’s 22,000 ft. Kailash Mountain. Accompanying the landscape scenes of the film is the music of Fricke and Popol Vuh inspired by this epic journey. This event attempts to explore and unpack ritual, spirituality and how alcohol and food can be a catalyst for human interaction.

Artist book launch — Context Sensitive (2017 )

Friday 8 September 6-8pm

‘Context Sensitive’ is the name given to the Apple iPhone predictive messaging. The program is designed to suggest appropriate words for the context of the text message being written. This book work consists of a set of messages constructed using Context Sensitive, with a second set made using a thesaurus to replace the suggested words with alternatives and a third set replacing the second set of suggested words using a thesaurus again.

The messages are listed 1-10 in Roman numerals, Hebrew and Greek alluding to a history of language. The book is produced as an artwork of 1 for each edition printing. For example: First Edition : 1 of 1. Second Edition: 1 of 1. Third Edition: 1 of 1. And so on. This book work investigates forms of language and interpretation as well as acting as a hands - off approach to writing, where the authorship of writing is questioned.

Performance — Link in a Chain (2017)

Friday 15 September 6-8pm

This is the first part of a two-part performance piece using a replicant to replace the artist ; the performers or avatars will be fulfilling actions the artist is incapable of performing. In a similar sense to the use of a ‘False Protagonist’ in literature and film or in mythology where Gods, humans and beings are transformed to fulfil a role. For Link in a Chain the performer is sat at table with a plate of ten cooked short ribs. The performer puts each piece of meat in his mouth, chews the meat off the bone and spits the bone out. The performance ends when all of the short ribs have been stripped of their meat and there is a pile of bones.

Performance — The thing is magic, unimaginable to him who knows not how it is (2017)

Friday 22 September 6-8pm

This is the second part of the two-part performance piece. Join us for an evening of choreographed dance using Indian Kathakali dance hand gestures or ‘mudras’ and Yoga to create language. The performer will wear an orange vegetable-dyed dress artwork, The thing is magic, unimaginable to him who knows not how it is (2012) that has olive stones in the pockets ( in Kathakali orange is associated with noble, virtuous female characters ). As the performer moves, the olive stones are thrown onto the floor and the mudras are displayed.

Closing event — Suddenly They Stop (2017)

Friday 29 September 6-9pm

Suddenly They Stop is a performance piece that uses an Ancient Greek water clock method for measuring time. Lees will create outflow water clocks where containers are filled with water, which then slowly drains out whilst readings are made (6.4 litres of water equates to roughly six minutes ). The readings come from a script created by Lees that uses the scene and character descriptions from the original Star Wars trilogy, lines from Plato’s ‘Allegory of the Cave’ from The Republic and descriptions of Mary of Egypt. It will be a classical and jovial coming together at the end of an intensive residency at Kingsgate Project Space.


Hannah Lees lives and works in Margate and London. She graduated with a Postgraduate Diploma in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art in 2011, London. Recent solo exhibitions include ; Turner Contemporary & The British Museum Commission: Hannah Lees, Turner Contemporary, Margate (2016 ) ; The oldest thing you can hold in your hand, Workbench, Milan (2016 ) ; Floated on foam [ ] Flew with birds, Galerie Tatjana Pieters, Ghent (2016) ; and Hannah Lees : Ever -new Oldness / | Ever-old Newness, The Sunday Painter, London (2015 ). Hannah has completed residencies at Edinburgh Sculpture Workshop, Edinburgh (2016 ), Stour Valley Arts, Kings Wood, Kent (2014), Clermont Ferrand, France (2013) , and a Foundry Residency at the Royal College of Art, London (2012) .

* The exhibition is open Thursday to Saturday 12-6pm. We have step-free access. However if there is anything we can do to address your accessibility needs for this exhibition please get in touch by emailing eleanor@kingsgateworkshops.org.uk

Exhibiting artistsToggle

Hannah Lees


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