Anne Hardy is internationally recognised for her large-scale sculptural installations: immersive works that combine physical materials with lighting and surround sound. She was recently commissioned by Tate Britain, London to create ‘The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light’ for their annual Winter Commission and is currently included in the landmark touring exhibition British Art Show 9.
In 2022 she will exhibit at the Merz Foundation in Turin, as part of the shortlist for Mario Merz Prize, and will be artist in residence at the Chinati Foundation in Marfa, Texas. In 2019, Hardy was invited to curate the Arts Council Collection, creating a site specific sensory installation,‘The Weather Garden’ at Towner Art Gallery, UK (2019). Recent solo exhibitions and commissions include ‘Sensory Spaces #13’, Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Netherlands (2018), Museum Marta Herford Museum, Germany (2018), ‘Falling and Walking’ at Leeds Art Gallery (2018) and ArtNight, London (2017).
In all of my work I use materials that are leftover, abandoned or found; things that have somehow lost their purpose or their function but embody a feeling of potential.
Hardy came to prominence in the early 2000’s with her large-scale photographs that depicted constructed environments that were made privately in her studio. Over the years her working process has expanded to include sound, film, sculpture and immersive environments - FIELDworks - that can be accessed and experienced in life.
The built structures that make up these environments utilise choreographed sequences of manipulated light, sound and air that are grounded in colour fields made from architectural forms. The starting point for these works is often the discovery of found or ‘lost’ objects, atmospheres and sounds that are collected and recorded in bypassed areas of the city such as the East London Docklands or the banks of the river Thames. Places she describes as ‘pockets of wild space ... where loose-ends, feelings and thoughts collect’. These elements become a sensory language that is used to describe a newly imagined landscape.
Her 2018 film Area of Overlap is presented in a specially created cinema setting and was made within the landscape of Hardy’s immersive FIELD work, Falling and Walking (phhhhhhhhhhh phosshh-hhhcrrhhhhhzzz mn huaooogh). Created around the sound score she composed for her installation the film moves us through shifting views of that environment. Drawing and sculptural elements form the seating, lighting and complete atmosphere in which this film is experienced.
Her working process is also played out in the quiet of the photographic darkroom, where the urban jetsam and street-combings that have been sourced while wandering in the city are manoeuvred in the dark under dialled in hues of coloured light to realise unexpected pictorial forms and colour fields, that are borne from fiction while rooted in reality. “The darkroom feels like a temporary suspension from the world, where momentary collisions between light, debris, paper and chemistry can conjure up unexpected and imagined spaces”.
The materials used in the production of her series of photograms The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light were gathered from the River Thames foreshore while the artist was researching her 2019/2020 Winter Commission for Tate Britain, which itself took inspiration from the rhythms of the earth and the tides of the river in order to transform the façade of the Tate.
“…this is how Hardy usually sets to work: she begins with a mapping process, going in search of places and pieces of land that in some way are situated somewhere ‘in between’. Places that have been forgotten and no longer have a clear function, which she calls ‘pockets of wild space’. This is where she collects materials, sounds and stories; building blocks for her new urban narratives. Her inspiration comes from walks through the East End, a part of the city that she has seen change in the last few decades… and from literature too. During our walk she talks about her favourite books and authors – Concrete Island by J.G. Ballard, Remainder by Tom McCarthy, The City & The City by China Miéville and pretty much everything by Haruki Murakami. What she recognizes in these books is the feeling that other versions of reality exist alongside our tangible reality.
...she experiences the city as an entity that is continually in motion and transforming, leaving behind all kinds of materials, sounds and experiences in different places, like a sea which ebbs and flows and washes all sorts of things on to a beach and sweeps them away again. Hardy compares locations like these to the soul of a city, ‘a mental space that perhaps corresponds to the furthest reaches of our consciousness’. This is where the remnants of urban life collect; this is where unprocessed experiences and emotions pile up” - Nina Folkersma, 2018
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