PIERRE HUYGHE, Les Grands ensembles, 2001
Blog

Autumn Winter 2019-20 at Somerset House


Ceri Hand

Director of Programmes, Somerset House

14 May 2019

From dreams of sleep in today’s non-stop world to the planet-changing potential of mushrooms, our Autumn/Winter season offers a fascinating exploration into the world we live in and the future we will inhabit.

Join us over the coming months as we bring together cutting-edge artists and designers from around the world with our own community of resident Somerset House Studios artists to celebrate some of the most innovative and thought-provoking creativity from across the globe.

Our major winter exhibition 24/7 explores the relentlessness of our daily lives in the 21st century. Did you know that 200,000 working days are lost each year to lack of sleep? Living in the glow of blue light, we check our smartphones every 12 minutes on average and half of all UK adults say their life would be boring without the internet.

PIERRE HUYGHE, Les Grands ensembles, 2001
PIERRE HUYGHE, Les Grands ensembles, 2001

Inspired by the book of the same name by Jonathan Crary and curated with writer and researcher Sarah Cook, a host of international contemporary artists and designers, including ten of our own Somerset House Studios residents, will create and contribute works that hold a mirror up to our world. A world in which we are sleeping less, and the constant pull of the screen is disrupting our human instincts to daydream and pay attention to the world around us, and one another.

We’re excited to showcase the first UK solo exhibition of one of South Africa’s most celebrated contemporary artists, Mary Sibande. Opening as part of 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair, Sibande’s transgressive sculptures and photographic works pay homage to the generations of women in her family who worked as domestic labourers. Following the transformative journey of her avatar Sophie, the exhibition explores the power of imagination and constructive anger in shaping identities and personal narratives in a post-colonial world.

Mary Sibande  I Put A Spell On Me  2009  Archival Digital Print  90 x 60 cm  Ed. of 10
Mary Sibande I Put A Spell On Me 2009 Archival Digital Print 90 x 60 cm
Mary Sibande  Living Memory  2011  Archival Digital Print  126 x 87 cm  Ed. of 10
Mary Sibande Living Memory 2011 Archival Digital Print 126 x 87 cm

Elsewhere, we’ll be continuing our commitment to showcasing artists who are tackling the world’s ecological emergencies with a new series of Afrofuturist works by photographer Aida Muluneh, commissioned by Water Aid, engaging with issues of water scarcity and social justice.

Star Shine Moon Glow
Star Shine Moon Glow

Our community of resident artists in Somerset House Studios continues to grow and there will be many opportunities to come into contact with the ground-breaking work being developed here on site throughout 2019. In September we’ll be opening Gallery 31, a new permanent gallery space dedicated to profiling the work of our community of artists, and AGM returns in October, an after-hours party with music and performance where we open up the hidden studio spaces within our building for one night only.

AGM 2018 Photo © Anne Tetzlaff
AGM 2018 Photo © Anne Tetzlaff

ASSEMBLY, which debuted last November with five nights of experimental music and performance, returns this year curated by resident artist Christian Marclay, who’ll be inviting artists and musicians to create sound work in response to Somerset House and its surroundings. Offsite, the Studios curate Wysing Arts Centre’s annual music festival in Cambridgeshire, exploring the theme of connection with performances from resident artists Beatrice Dillon, Jennifer Walshe and AMRA alongside pioneering talent from around the world.

Christian Marclay 2018, photo by Dan Burn-Forti (003).jpg

Christian Marclay 2018, photo by Dan Burn-Fort
Christian Marclay 2018, photo by Dan Burn-Fort

For many across the capital, the return of our ice rink heralds the start of the festive period, and this year we hope you’ll join us in celebrating 20 years of Skate at Somerset House.

The ultimate winter destination, visit from November to January for unrivalled skating on London’s original ice rink, trailblazing DJs playing rink-side sets, seasonal shopping, and delicious food and drink in Fortnums’ Christmas Arcade and Lodge. Tickets go on sale in September, so sign up to our newsletter to be the first to know.

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason by Luke Dyson
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason by Luke Dyson

As we enter the new year we’ll be inviting you to explore the fascinating world of… mushrooms. Curated by writer Francesca Gavin, Mushrooms: The Art, Design and Future of Fungi celebrates the rich legacy and incredible potential of the remarkable organism; the ideas it inspires in the poetic, spiritual and psychedelic, and the powerful promise it offers to combat the human devastation of the planet. Over 40 artists and designers will come together in a multimedia exhibition spanning sculpture, collage, painting, drawing, photography, film and performance.

mindful mushroom - Seana Gavin.jpg

Mindful Mushroom - Seana Gavin
Mindful Mushroom - Seana Gavin

In February, we’re delighted to be welcoming Collect, the art fair dedicated to modern craft and design, to Somerset House. Organised by the Crafts Council, the fair showcases the exceptional skill and intellectual rigour behind modern craft, with works in ceramic, glass, metal, wood and textiles and makers working in non-traditional materials presented by over 40 galleries from the UK and around the world.

Collect 2018 ® Sohie Mutevelian
Collect 2018 ® Sohie Mutevelian

Finally, an exciting new opportunity to become a part of our diverse and dynamic creative community here at Somerset House. Our unique network sparks innovation, forges connections and acts as an incubator for creative potential and business opportunities. Launching this October, Somerset House Exchange is a new shared work-space for freelancers, individuals and small businesses working in the arts and creative industries that will accelerate this exchange of ideas, knowledge and skills. To find out more about memberships of this exciting new shared work-space in the heart of London, click here.

People walking into Somerset House, Photo by Phillip Vile