Florence Peake: Enactment
Richard Saltoun is delighted to present Enactment, a solo exhibition of multi-disciplinary visual artist Florence Peake. The exhibition presents new installations, sculptures, canvases, and works on paper that continue the artist's research into the possibilities of painting and complements her major solo exhibition at Southwark Park Galleries, running from 16 April to 2 July and touring to Fruitmarket, Edinburgh, in late 2023, and Towner Eastbourne in 2024.
Florence Peake produces paintings, sculptures, films, and immersive performances rooted in the body, which are at once sensual and witty, political, and intimate. Focusing on the notions of materiality and physicality, her work explores narratives around the experience of aliveness, our bodies, and their multiplicity of being.
Peake's performances employ dancers, performers, and communities to create lavish choreographies that encourage a seemingly chaotic relationship between the bodies and the material. The artist's sculptures and paintings are a result of this interaction. They are both an extension and manifestation of the body in motion and a way to capture the profusion of experiences and feelings recorded within our bodies, exploring queerness not only as an identity but as an ontological approach and strategy for making. Using movement and the whole body as an initial mark making methods, upon which the artist builds forms and figures, Peake creates new narratives and multiple layers of meaning while exalting the production process of artworks - the labour, the gesture.
The works in Enactment build on the artist's performance Factual Actual (National Gallery, 2021), which looked at the idea of the collapse of the canon of the classical white Western painting tradition. As by-products of a live moment, they redefine what performance can be and allow past iterations to take on a new life. A set of postcard-sized works on holographic paper made from photographic documentation of the live work incorporates the stillness of classical compositions. Two gaunt, angular plaster sculptures reclining in a classical repose ironically comment on the rounded perfection of renaissance nudes, as they lay on top of what the artist calls 'Medallions' - paintings cut out from the canvas stretchers that externalise how grief coagulates within our bodies, in lumps as condescended matter. Two interactive, deeply folded canvases expand into space, becoming sculptural installations that offer a visual counterpoint to the richly draped velvets and brocades of historical paintings. Following the artist's unique methodology, the largest works on view - over 5 metres in length - offer direct visual translation of moving bodies, expanding the notion of painting further and echoing the creative process behind the fifty metres wide painting exhibited at Southwark Park Galleries.
Seamlessly moving between various artistic disciplines, Peake joyfully renders the multifaceted and sensual nature of the contemporary, flesh-bound world, re-imagining and re-framing the procedures, actions and gestures involved in artmaking, and building correspondences between places and times.
Enactment in the press: