Emma Hart lives and works in London. In 2016 she won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery. In 2015 she was awarded a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award for Visual Art.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Mamma Mia! Whitechapel Gallery and the Collezione Maramotti, Italy (2017); Commercial Breakz, Frieze Art Fair, London (2017); Love Life (with Jonathan Baldock) Peer, London, The Grundy Gallery, Blackpool and De Le Warr Pavillion, Bexhill (2016-7); Giving It All That, Folkestone Triennial (2014); Dirty Looks, Camden Arts Centre (2013).
Recent group exhibitions include: Condo, The Sunday Painter, The London Open, Whitechapel Gallery (2015); 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).
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: Tomorrow Never Knows, with an exhibition at Jerwood Space, London. Hart was resident at Camden Arts Centre with her Question Department in 2009 and for The Forest residency at Wysing Arts Centre in 2012.
Hart 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 at the Slade.
Emma Hart will have a major solo exhibition at The Fruitmarket Gallery in autumn 2018.
De Le Warr Pavillion
Working together, artists Jonathan Baldock and Emma Hart have radically re-imagined the traditional seaside show, Punch and Judy. Following ACT II at Grundy Art Gallery in Blackpool this summer and ACT I at PEER in London last year, Emma Hart and Jonathan Baldock’s LOVE LIFE concludes this autumn with ACT III at the De La Warr Pavilion. LOVE LIFE is Jonathan Baldock and Emma Hart’s most ambitious collaboration to date: a radical reimagining of the traditional seaside show Punch and Judy. LOVE LIFE ACT III draws on the history of the Pavilion, originally designed as a ‘people’s palace’ to provide culture and entertainment for all. Through sculpture, moving image and sound, the artists transform Punch and Judy’s puppet booth living quarters into an oversized, darkly humorous place in which the pressure of domestic life is combined with the ever-present threat of violence. A giant thumb made by Blackpool Council’s Illuminations Department sits on top of enclosed interiors, presented like room sets in an Ideal Home exhibition. Each booth contains sculptures: an oven stacked with anthropomorphic pots and pans, an ironing board with a human head, and a washing machine spewing out its blood-red contents. Beneath the booths, a misshapen raspberry-coloured carpet oozes out into the gallery space. Nearby, a giant infant with Cyclops head sits in a large pink baby walker. On the walls, a string of sausages spells out the warning ‘YOUR BACK’ and ceramic speech bubbles reminiscent of Punch’s aquiline profile give the impression of a silent chorus. Visitors are invited to sit on a sofa and watch a film that shows the darkening domestic tensions between the Punch and Judy pair as they go about their daily rituals. Accompanying this mise en scène are the melodramatic strains of Jon and Emma (2016), Baldock and Hart’s collaborative soundtrack. The song is adapted from John and Marsha, the comedian and puppeteer Stan Freberg’s 1951 cult record parodying soap opera dialogue.
The Whitechapel Gallery
The Whitechapel Gallery presents a new large-scale installation by London-based artist Emma Hart (b. 1974) for the sixth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. The commission is the result of the artist’s six month bespoke residency which started in June 2016 and was divided between three Italian cities: Milan, Todi and Faenza. Mamma Mia! is the culmination of an investigation into pattern, from visual patterns to patterns of psychological behaviour. The work also looks at the design and rupture of pattern and the ruminations in between. The exhibition travels to Collezione Maramotti in Reggio Emilia on 15 October 2017 and is presented as part of an exhibition of Hart’s new work at Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh in spring 2018. The Max Mara Art Prize for Women is a collaboration between the Collezione Maramotti, Max Mara and the Whitechapel Gallery.
Giving It All That. Folkestone Triennial 20142014
The Folkestone Triennial is a major international platform for contemporary art, commissioning new works. My solo presentation titled “Giving It All That” was installed in a decrepit flat, drew on the latent anxiety which inhabits the gap between our public and private selves. In the domestic space we can rehearse who we are. I provided ‘help stations’ or ‘Mates’, metal handrail figures which the viewer ‘entered’ to watch a repetitive presentation of the self. Meanwhile ceramic sculptures positioned the viewer. They were offered precarious empty drinks, or watched through mirror eyes peering over clipboards. Being served or being monitored manufactures different emotional states. The mirrors reflected back fragments of photographs on the clipboards. 'Giving it all that' is a phrase used to put down someone who is excessively talking. The sculptures delivered excess through spillages and sweat. Both are marks of a real physicality bursting through superficial attempts to conceal our real selves.