Reekie's Round-Up 2018

Jonathan Reekie CBE

21 Dec 2018

In what's become an annual tradition at Somerset House, join us in looking back on 2018 as Director Jonathan Reekie CBE selects his cultural highlights of the year gone by.

#1 Eloise Hawser, By the deep by the mark

A landmark exhibition for us as it was the first major exhibition at Somerset House by a resident Somerset House Studios artist, revealing surprising and hidden stories about the building and the River Thames.

Eloise Hawser: By the deep, by the mark

#2 Halo 

A beautiful, elusive sculpture in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, by Kimchi and Chips, capturing the power of the sun and providing a ceaseless dance of light and water for the many visitors to Somerset House.

Kimchi and Chips: HALO

#3 The Listening Party 

One or a series by Studios artist Imran Perretta in which he interviewed fellow resident Paul Purgas, revealing Paul’s startling and fascinating musical influences which took us all the way from Bristol to Ahmedabad.

#4 Hofesh Shechter - Shechter Underground

The Hofesh Shechter company set up a base at Somerset House last year and in a rare departure for their staged work in theatres, created a site specific piece in the Lightwells and Deadhouse around the courtyard that was visceral and exhilarating.

Shechter Underground
Shechter Underground

#5 The Jungle at the Young Vic 

By Joe Robertson and Joe Murphy, a play with individual stories of suffering, loss and hope from the Jungle in Calais. Somehow a deeply depressing issue got turned into a piece of art that was profound, uplifting and a call to action.

The Jungle at the Young Vic
The Jungle at the Young Vic

#6 Gaika’s SYSTEM

A Somerset house Studios resident made an installation marking 70 years of Windrush with a month-long exploration of sound systems and Notting Hill Carnival’s heritage, combining archival footage and a specially written soundtrack. It coincided with the release of his first album Basic Volume which is a great listen.

Gaika performing at the opening night of SYSTEM
Gaika performing at the opening night of SYSTEM

#7 AGM

Somerset House Studios’ second birthday party, including Hannah Perry’s solo exhibition Gush, was a fantastic celebration of all the great artists and programming that director Marie McPartlin and the Studios team have gathered together since we launched in October 2016.

Beatrice Dillon performs at Somerset House Studios AGM
Beatrice Dillon performs at Somerset House Studios AGM
Hannah Perry: GUSH

#8 Creative Career Academy Members

We launched our Creative Careers Academy scheme in 2018, and five young people who have struggled to break into a career in the arts and creative industries were awarded nine month placements at Somerset House both with the Trust and resident organisations. The young people have brought so much energy to Somerset House and its residents.

Creative Careers Academy member Dominic speaks about his experience

#9 1-54 African Art fair

This is always one of my favourite moments on the calendar; this year came with the added pleasure of Athi Patra-Ruga’s joyful and thought-provoking show, Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions.

Athi-Patra Ruga: Of Gods, Rainbows and Omissions

#10 Good Grief, Charlie Brown!

Our major exhibition of the year. Charles Schulz’s artistry, humour and insight and its continuing legacy with artists and designers has been captivating audiences both young and old.

Good Grief, Charlie Brown! Celebrating SNoopy and the Enduring Power of Peanuts

#11 Elaine Mitchener performing David Toop’s Of Leonardo da Vinci at the South Bank Centre

This was a highlight and suggested to me one possible future for opera

Elaine Mitchener performing David Toop’s Of Leonardo da Vinci at the South Bank Centre
Elaine Mitchener performing David Toop’s Of Leonardo da Vinci at the South Bank Centre

#12 Christian Marclay – The Clock at Tate Modern.

It was wonderful to see the endlessly inventive Clock again. Having seen it a few times when it was first shown at White Cube, I thought the impact might lessen with time, but not a bit of it.

Christian Marclay: The Clock
Christian Marclay: The Clock