press release

venue: Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt's Rotunda

Beginning November 20, 2015, the British artist Heather Phillipson will present her first solo show in Germany: an installation for the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt's Rotunda. EAT HERE, her large-scale multimedia work, addresses the heart—as motif, metaphor and, above all, as biological imperative.

"With the installation by Heather Phillipson in the public Rotunda, which was developed especially for the Schirn, our institution offers its visitors a synaesthetic experience that is based on the linkage of artistic genres and confronts viewers with an excess of impressions. They become part of—or, better, protagonists in—Phillipson's overwhelming world, and are invited to completely immerse themselves in it," says Max Hollein, Director of the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt.

Composed of suspended objects, printed images, pervasive audio and a dual-screen video, EAT HERE takes over the entirety of the Rotunda—coating its floor in spongy carpet, obstructing access across the space with an enormous, rotating styrofoam foot, and installing elevated observation platforms from which to view Phillipson's video COMMISERATIONS! (2015, 15 minutes) projected in an endless loop. It is an enquiry into the physiological heart and its clichéd, symbolic representations. Supplemented by dangling drawings of spermatozoa, lightning and eyeballs alongside real tennis rackets and balls, hot water bottles, stuffed waste-sacks and umbrellas, all suspended on red shock cords that rise through the space like blood vessels to reach a buffeted whale windsock in the eaves, Phillipson's video comes to operate as a central core—the heart of an entire, walk-in body.

Matthias Ulrich, the curator of the exhibition, adds: "The title of the installation is exemplary of the artist's approach. The focus is not the obvious meaning of the words 'EAT HERE'—indeed, nothing is literally offered to eat in Phillipson's work for the Rotunda. What it is really doing is irritating habitual patterns of absorption and perception by combining and re-arranging apparently disparate elements—everyday images, objects and sounds from a wide range of contexts—taking nothing for granted. By doing so, she creates new possibilities of, and for, meaning."

Video plays a major role in Heather Phillipson's works, which evolve as multifaceted, part-digital, part-physical conglomerations encompassing visual, oral and tactile elements. Phillipson, also an award-winning poet and trained musician, frequently deploys linguistic and compositional structures of enjambment, counterpoint and rhythm to destabilize or reorient representational space. Abandoning logic and any fidelity to narrative, and replacing them instead with visual and aural poetic non-sequiturs, the artist's interplays of words, images and objects invite us to reassess the seemingly banal or insignificant, using constant volleys of imaginative association to upset accepted visual, informational and conceptual constructs. Most striking, perhaps, is the bold aesthetic appeal of the worlds the artist creates: walk-in montages of heterogeneous objects that highlight our constant proximity to the absurd. Phillipson seeks the maximum tension between things and ideas, developing tempi, momentum and neural jolts—and, in so doing, ruptures schematic orders.

The artist Heather Phillipson (b. 1978, London) lives and works in London. Her forthcoming solo shows for 2016 include exhibitions at Whitechapel Gallery London, Images Festival Toronto, and the Sao Paolo Biennale, and in 2015, she has presented solo shows at Performa New York, the Istanbul Biennial, and the Sheffield Doc/Fest. In recent years, her works have been presented in a number of solo exhibitions and events, at venues including the Serpentine Gallery, Tate Britain, ICA London, Palais de Tokyo Paris, Dundee Contemporary Arts (all 2014) and BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2013). In addition, Heather Phillipson has received several awards for her writing, including a Faber New Poets Award in 2009 and an Eric Gregory Award for young poets in 2008. She has published three collections of poetry and was named a Next Generation Poet in 2014.

Director: Max Hollein Curator: Matthias Ulrich