Emma Hart

5 September – 31 October 2015


Opening Friday 4 September 2015, 6–8pm


Grand Union is very pleased to present big MOUTH, a new collection of ceramic sculptures by Emma Hart that want to tell you how it really is and how it really feels.

Out from the gallery wall clay fists throw punches, rub crying eyes, clutch their stomach, whilst squeezed clay hair cascades through anus-like scrunchies. There are those clumsy spills from ceramic wine glasses that we all make from time to time.

Integrated into the sculptures are film, photography and sound elements which contradict their glossy finish with their subject matter – sweaty legs, a bum with knickers wedged up its crack. Combining ceramics with moving and still images is Hart’s plan to get ‘the insides onto the outsides’, so that pristine outward appearances can be eaten away by inner doubts and feelings.

Emma Hart believes the overwhelming real we stumble through is split from the way digital culture references it, then smoothes it all over. Life looks good in images, or if not good then far away enough for us to manage and control. Sculpture, most recently ceramics, provides a way to physically corrupt and ‘dirty’ images and forcefully squeeze more life out of them. Clay provides a way to work behind pictures, and reveal the raw, crude, real state of things that images screen off.

The gallery space is also filled with the sound of a radio spilling out in Radio Shame, an audio diary recorded whilst making the work for the show.  Hart uses the broadcast to create a type of weather or climate that hovers over the work and interferes with its reception. The diary records some of Hart’s numerous trips to Asda, problems and thoughts – ‘I’ve been called authentic twice this week. I think they mean I’m working class.’

Emma Hart’s work starts with her own reality: her stresses, anxieties, embarrassments, tensions and anguish. She offers up a fractured experience of sculpture, image and autobiography, forcing us to confront the emotions and experiences that make up everyday life.

Artist biography
Emma Hart’s recent solo exhibitions include: Sticky, Austrian Cultural Forum, London (2015); Spread, Art Exchange (2015); Giving It All That, Folkestone Triennial (2014); Dirty Looks, Camden Arts Centre (2013); M20 Death Drives, Whitstable Biennale (2012) and TO DO, Matt’s Gallery (2011). Recent group exhibitions include: SUCKERZ, L’etrangere, London (2015) a joint show with Jonathan Baldock; Only the Lonely, La Galerie CAC Noisy Le Sec, France (2015);  Dear Luxembourg, Nosbaum Reding, Luxembourg (2015); Hey I’m Mr.Poetic, Wysing Arts Centre (2014); Bloody English, OHWOW Gallery, Los Angeles (2013); The World Turned Upside Down, Mead Gallery, Coventry (2013). Hart was shortlisted for The Jarman Awards 2013, and awarded a Random Acts commission. In 2012 she was shortlisted for the Jerwood / Film and Video Umbrella Awards. She received an MA in Fine Art from the Slade in 2004 and completed her PhD in Fine Art at Kingston University in 2013. Hart is a lecturer on BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins.

Friday 4 September, 6-8pm
big Mouth Exhibition Opening
Join us for the opening of the exhibition as part of Digbeth First Friday.

Wednesday 9 September, 10:30-12:30
Ceramics Workshop with Crisis Art Festival
This workshop is free but limited to 10 places. Please email info@grand-union.org.uk to book your place.

Friday 2 October, 6-8pm
Digbeth First Friday
Explore the exhibition after hours as part of Digbeth First Friday.

Wednesday 7 – Sunday 11 October
Emma Hart at Fierce Festival
Film works by Emma Hart will be screened in the Fierce Festival hub. Visit www.wearefierce.org for more information.

Wednesday 28 October, 6:30-8:30pm
Artist talk with Emma Hart, in conversation with Harun Morrison and Kim McAleese.

This exhibition is devised in collaboration with Art Exchange, Essex.