Dezeen Magazine

Loewe and Anthea Hamilton design costumes for Tate Britain installation

Anthea Hamilton and Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson looked to the different varieties of squash and pumpkins when designing the costumes for an immersive installation at London's Tate Britain.

Called The Squash, the six-month-long installation has been created by Hamilton for the annual Tate Britain Commission, which invites contemporary British artists to come up with an artwork in response to the building's Duveen Galleries.

The Squash takes the form of an ongoing performance set against a backdrop made from over 7,000 white floor tiles.

Each day, the show focuses on a single character, who is dressed in one of seven colourful costumes inspired by the colours and shapes of varieties of squash or pumpkin.

These seven costumes were designed by Hamilton in collaboration with Loewe creative director, Jonathan Anderson, and feature voluminous sleeves, bold patterns and squash-shaped headwear.

Materials such as hand-painted leather and printed silk crepon were used to create the costumes' organic textures, while references to 1970s clothing can be seen in the shape of some of the silhouettes.

Each day, performers select a costume that informs and reflects their individual presentation of the character as they move around the space, which has been transformed through the use of white tiles.

Laid in a grid, the tiles span the length of the Duveens, encasing a series of large structures that serve as podiums for a number works of art.

The artworks, taken from Tate's collection, were chosen by Hamilton for their organic forms and colours.

For inspiration, Hamilton looked to the work of early 20th-century French writer and dramatist Antonin Artaud, and his call for the "physical knowledge of images". With Squash, Hamilton hopes to examine the concept of a bodily response to an idea or an image.

Each element of the work has evolved from Hamilton's interest in a found photograph, for which the original source has since been lost.

Through the tiles, structures, sculptures and costumes, the performer explores their own interpretation of the image, inviting the viewer to imagine its history and intention.

"Anthea Hamilton has made a unique contribution to British and International Art with her visually playful works that both provoke and delight," said Alex Farquharson, director of Tate Britain.

"This compelling commission demonstrates her ability to seamlessly weave together captivating images and narratives, creating rich new environments in which to encounter works of art."

Bold and humorous, Hamilton's work often incorporates references from the worlds of art, design, fashion and popular culture. Her other recent installations include the Turner Prize-nominated exhibition Lichen! Libido! Chastity! at the SculptureCenter in New York, which was re-staged at Tate Britain in 2016, and Anthea Hamilton Reimagines Kettle's Yard at The Hepworth Wakefield.

Jonathan Anderson founded his eponymous brand in 2008, having graduated from London College of Fashion. He became creative director at Loewe in 2013.

His own work often explores ideas of gender and identity. He recently curated an entire exhibition based around these themes, titled Disobedient Bodies, for the Chipperfield-designed Hepworth Wakefield in Yorkshire, England.

The Squash is on show at the Tate Britain until 7 October 2018.

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