Surrealism and the Olympics link two new exhibitions at firstsite in Colchester

Anthea Hamilton: Sorry I’m Late Humphrey Jennings: Painting, Collage, Film 8 September to 25 November 2012 Preview Friday 6 – 9pm Friday 7 September 2012 Anthea Hamilton’s exhibition of sculpture, installation and videos at firstsite will explore the surreal and seductive nature of images, this follows from her recent poster commission for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games. Drawing on the histories of art, performance and cinema she builds three-dimensional collages, often combining figures with an apparently incongruous selection of objects. Previous installations have included gym equipment, platform shoes, afro wigs, snooker balls, broken vases, football nets and loaves of chollah bread. For her exhibition at firstsite, Hamilton is installing works across the building and transforming the galleries into a series of environments that visitors can explore and move between. Soft sculpture (designed in collaboration with the artist, fashion illustrator and designer Julie Verhoeven), Perspex figures mounted on wheels, a giant, zoetrope-inspired portrait of John Travolta and a medieval cocktail that is claimed to cure cataracts are amongst the works that comprise the exhibition. Alongside this Hamilton’s work is a display of work by Suffolk-born Surrealist and documentary film-maker Humphrey Jennings. The exhibition, called Humphrey Jennings: Painting, Collage, Film features Jennings’ surrealist painting and collage from the 1930s including works on loan from national collections including the Tate and the Museum of London. These will be shown alongside Jennings’ early drafts and working material for the posthumously published book, Pandæmonium: The Coming of the Machine Age which was recently named as a key source for the opening ceremony of the 2012 Summer Olympics. The exhibition will be accompanied by a specially selected season of Jennings’ films presented in collaboration with the British Film Institute. It is the first public exhibition dedicated to Humphrey Jennings’ work in thirty years. For more information please contact: Lindsay Evans Press & Marketing Co-ordinator Tel: 01206 713 720 Email: [email protected] Website: A PDF of this release is available here. Notes to Editors: 1. firstsite is Colchester’s visual arts organisation. We commission and present contemporary art; contextualise contemporary art through talks, publications and events and deliver an ambitious range of projects to schools, community groups and artists living in the region. 2. Anthea Hamilton was born in London and studied at Leeds Metropolitan University and the Royal College of Art, London. Her work has been exhibited internationally including presentations at the Palais de Tokyo, Paris (2012); Nottingham Contemporary, the Barbican Art Gallery (both 2009), and Tate Britain, London (2008) She is one of twelve artists selected to produce a poster for the London 2012 Olympic and Paralympic Games and recently undertook a major commission as part of the Cultural Olympiad, Frieze Projects East (2012, with Nicholas Byrne). She is currently developing a work for the new programme of live art at Tate Modern. 3. Humphrey Jennings, born in Walberswick, Suffolk in 1907 and educated at Pembroke College, Cambridge was an acclaimed documentary filmmaker, painter and poet. He was an early member of the GPO Film Unit and co-founder of the social research organisation Mass Observation. His work has influenced several generations of filmmakers including Lindsay Anderson, who once described him as ‘the only real poet’ of British cinema. Jennings was also a central figure within the British Surrealist movement and together with André Breton, Roland Penrose and Herbert Read organised the landmark International Surrealist Exhibition at the New Burlington Galleries in London in 1936. Exhibitions of his paintings, photography and collage have been held at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, London (1951) and Riverside Studios, London (1982). ENDS