The cast of Peanuts © Peanuts

Autumn & Winter at Somerset House

Ceri Hand

Director of Programmes

06 Jun 2018

The artists and creative organisations working here at Somerset House never cease to surprise and inspire us as we look to create a compelling programme of cultural activity for you to enjoy, and this Autumn-Winter season is no exception. It’s with great pleasure that we reveal another season of contemporary art, cutting edge music, design and fashion, showcasing some of the best cutting-edge creativity from home and abroad.

Through our collaborations, conversations and discussions with artists and culture-makers, there are often touch-points that emerge again and again. One such subject has always raised particularly large smiles among artists here and beyond and we’re delighted to announce that this winter we’ll be hosting a major new exhibition celebrating the world’s most influential comic-strip, Peanuts, and examining its cultural legacy.

GOOD GRIEF, CHARLIE BROWN! will bring together Charles M. Schulz original Peanuts cartoons and archive material with work from of a wide range of acclaimed contemporary artists and designers who have been inspired by this much-loved cartoon. This major new exhibition will discover how these endearing and enduring characters became a global phenomenon and go on to explore how contemporary artists and designers from a range of backgrounds and disciplines have returned time and again to this group of worldly-wise youngsters to unlock meaning in their own practice. Whether you’re a die-hard fan of this much-loved comic-strip, a devotee of 20th century popular culture or looking to be inspired by some of the world’s greatest contemporary artists, Good Grief, Charlie Brown! will be a must-see

Peanuts 22.jpg

Peanuts 22.09.1981 © Peanuts

Snoopy, Charlie Brown and friends were of course all keen ice-skaters and we can’t wait to welcome back SKATE at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason. As ever, the glorious Edmond J Safra Fountain Court will be transformed into the ultimate winter destination, complete with the gorgeous Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade and Fortnum’s Lodge offering shopping, food and drink to make the perfect festive experience. Skate Lates will be back, with another fantastic line up of leading DJs bringing the party to the ice, and following last year’s unforgettable commission from Somerset House Studios artist Anna Meredith, Sarabande for Zamboni, 2018 will deliver some unexpected interventions to once again create a skating experience like no other. Who knows, you may even spot a certain beagle on and around the ice…

SKATE at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason © David Jensen
SKATE at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason

The Charles Russell Speechly’s Terrace Room series continues with an incomparably vibrant and daring show from South African visual artists Athi-Patra Ruga. Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions is Ruga’s first major solo UK exhibition and will transport visitors to a surreal, mythical utopia, filled with a pantheon of extraordinary characters. Showcasing his diverse practice, from drawings and sculpture to film and photography, plus beautiful hand-crafted petit point tapestry, the exhibition will immerse visitors in Ruga’s vibrant world – an allegory of post-apartheid political, cultural and social systems.

We’re presenting this exhibition in partnership with 1-54 Contemporary African Art Fair which returns in October to fill Somerset House with another dazzling array of work from the leading artists from Africa and its diaspora. Undoubtedly one of the highlights of our annual calendar, this autumn marks 1-54’s sixth consecutive edition at Somerset House, and this year’s fair will be accompanied by a programme of talks and special projects cuated by Ekow Eshun.

Night of the Long Knives I, 2013 © Athi-Patra Ruga and WHATIFTHEWORLD
Night of the Long Knives I, 2013 © Athi-Patra Ruga and WHATIFTHEWORLD

Over the past 12 months the resident community of artist at Somerset House Studios has grown from 65 to 85 artists, and we’ve been able to share more and more of their work. We saw Larry Achiampong’s Pan African Flag for the Relic Travellers Alliance fly above the South Wing, Chloe Lamford’s ShowRoom give visitors a joyous welcome in the Great Arch Hall and Eloise Hawser’s by the deep, by the mark take us into the world beneath our streets. In October, HANNAH PERRY will be the next pioneering artist from Somerset House Studios to present a major new work on site. Developed in response to a series of workshops with young people here at Somerset House, Hannah’s new work will utilise new 360-degree photographic technology to create an immersive experience for audiences, addressing questions of gender, class and mental health.

If these projects have whet your appetite for the work of Somerset House Studios artists, for one night only on 5 October, AGM will see Somerset House Studios take over the building with an explosion of live DJ sets, late night installations and performances. Visitors will have rare access to the refurbished underground residencies, where artists including Beatrice Dillon, Klein, Brood Ma, Hannah Perry, Coby Sey, SIREN, Rescund, HMURD, Jacob Samuel, Resis’Dance, Marija Bosinovska Jones and COTCH International will present their work.

AGM: Beatrice Dillon, Hannah Perry, Brood Ma & more © Dan Wilton
AGM: Beatrice Dillon, Hannah Perry, Brood Ma & more © Dan Wilton

Elsewhere, from 3-7 October in the Lancaster Rooms, Studio residents Mel Brimfield, Ewan Jones Morris and Chloe Lamford will present TBCTV, a TV studio installation housing both live theatre, film and other visual art installations, including new short plays from the likes of award-winning Welsh playwright and screenwriter, Tim Price. In November, we’ll present ASSEMBLY, a weekend of contemporary electronic and experimental music, curated by Somerset House Studios. Putting artistic process and community at the forefront, this packed weekend series will feature newly commissioned performances and discussion from our Studios artists and the best international talent.

As well as developing work on site, Somerset House remains an international beacon for creative excellence and this season is no exception, with a number of events bringing the best creativity from around the world to the heart of London

Assembly © Theo Cottle
Assembly © Theo Cottle

In September, the second London Design Biennale will welcome designers from over 40 countries, cities and territories, presenting their response to the theme of Emotional States. The prestigious global event will see the world’s leading designers address issues including sustainability, migration and social equality through design disciplines such as robotics, VR and immersive digital installations. Turner Prize nominees Forensic Architecture will represent the UK with an exhibition exploring how innovative methods of digital design and image capture can preserve at-risk cultural heritage in conflict zones

London Design Biennale
London Design Biennale

In collaboration with Somerset House residents British Fashion Council, International Fashion Showcase returns, with an expanded mission. Somerset House Studios will welcome 15 cutting-edge fashion designers from five continents for a week in residence, ahead of their collections being shown in a series of installations during London Fashion Week 2019.

Winter has always been a time when we see people come to enjoy all that is great about Somerset House, and this season more than ever we hope that you’ll be inspired to try something new, to explore new connections in our programme and to discover a new aspect of the culture that is created here on site. We can’t wait to see you here!