Arsenal Contemporary is proud to present Viruses Worth Spreading, an exhibition of new work by Hannah Perry on view from May 3 through July 2.
A performance by the artist will take place May 6 at 7:30pm.
Over the past few years Perry has combined video, sculpture, installation, music, and performance to navigate a terrain where taste and class interlock, where communicable and shared aesthetics are solidified, and where identity is performed. Through the artist’s injections, Perry’s hometown in the North West of England is reimaged as an industrial landscape populated by souped-up cars and adolescent, too-tight tube tops. Industry here gives way to an everyday lifestyle and a so-called working class aesthetic, both abstract entities synthesized under the umbrella of culture and ritual.
For Viruses Worth Spreading, Perry presses these concerns onto the interminable terrain of trauma, heartache, and anxiety. The theme of the autobody shop becomes elastic, extended into a drippy, latex dream where eventually only the body remains. The impact of a car crash is imaged as a site of brute force, a concave mold indexed and repeatable, simultaneously conjuring the clichéd image of the hysteric woman who has lost control. Perry weds these replicable archetypes to the images and characters through which they’ve been performed, adding herself and appropriating others in this already-dense archive. Imagined in a realm where relationships share equal footing in the virtual and real world—one strung between online stalking, love letters, sexts, and selfies—Perry’s sculptures and images incubate the public performance of private relationships.
For the exhibition, the main gallery space has been transformed into a multi-sensorial installation. Perry’s addition of impermanent warped walls offers a deferential site in-the-making, one akin to an illicit party ground, a construction site, or the furtive subconscious. Cry Daggers, a 20-minute single channel video, stitches together varied footage—from excerpts of L.A. car rides, to clips of the artist’s nieces’ private performances, to GIF-like self shots—punctuated by an ambulating script describing episodes of retaliation and lust. The possible relationships between femininity and hysteria, machismo and industrialism are left to drift somewhere in between contingency and essence, threaded through the intimate and the shared.
Hannah Perry lives and works in London. She received her BA from Goldsmiths College in 2009 and a MA from Royal Academy Schools in 2014. Solo exhibitions include 100 Problems, CFA, Berlin; Mercury Retrograde, Seventeen, London; You’re gonna be great, Jeanine Hofland, Amsterdam; Hannah Perry, Zabludowicz Collection, London. Recent institutional group exhibitions include I feel we think bad, Arsenal Contemporary, Montreal; Private Settings: Art After the Internet, MOMA Warsaw; New Order II, Saatchi Gallery, London; Stedelijk at Trouw: Contemporary Art Club – DATA, Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam. Performances by the artist have been hosted at Serpentine Gallery, London; Boiler Room, London; V22, London.