Autumn-Winter 2017-18 at Somerset House

  • North: Fashioning Identity, representations of Northern England through art, fashion and photography

  • Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, an exhibition of vibrant, cross-cultural works by the British-Moroccan artist

  • Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, with special events, shopping, and food & drink

  • Somerset House Studios’ new events programme, and special flag commission by Larry Achiampong


North: Fashioning Identity [8 November 2017 - 4 February 2018] 
East Wing Galleries, £7, £5 concessions

This winter, Somerset House is proud to present North: Fashioning Identity, an exhibition examining representations of the north of England and Northerners through contemporary photography, fashion and art. The show will feature over 100 photographs, fashion garments and artworks from key creatives such as Jeremy Deller, Mark Leckey, Raf Simons and Gareth Pugh alongside social documentary film and photography, from the likes of Shirley Baker, John Bulmer and Peter Mitchell. The exhibition unpicks the themes and tropes present in these collective visions of northern England, from Berwick-upon-Tweed to Birkenhead, considering why this region, or representations of it, is increasingly a source of inspiration and still so idealised today.
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Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane [5 October 2017 - 7 January 2018]
Part of the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series, Terrace Rooms, Free
Somerset House and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair are proud to present Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, a homecoming exhibition of the British-Moroccan artist, showcasing his vibrant fusion of contemporary cultures through new and celebrated works. The exhibition will be the first UK solo show of his work in seven years, featuring his multi-layered works which combine traditional and contemporary North African culture with familiar Western imagery and iconography. Hajjaj’s artworks reflect his neo-nomadic lifestyle and the relationships he has formed with a variety of characters along the way, from musicians to artists and athletes to street performers. These individuals inspire diverse artworks from photographic portraits to video installations, music, design and handcrafted objects.
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Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason [15 November 2017 - 14 January 2018]
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Tickets start £7.50 (+booking fee)

From 15 November, Somerset House’s iconic 18th-century courtyard will transform into the ultimate winter destination for stylish skating, contemporary music, festive shopping and gourmet food and drink, signalling the start of winter in the capital. There will be an assortment of activities for skaters and spectators throughout the season, from extra-special experiences at Skate Lates and lessons with Skate School and Polar Cub Club, to indulgent food and drink at Fortnum’s cosy pop-up restaurant Fortnum’s Lodge or the one-stop-shop for all things festive at Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade.
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Perfume: A Sensory Journey Through Contemporary Scent [Until 23 September]
East Wing Galleries, £11, £9 concessions 

A ground-breaking multi-sensory exhibition, this major show presents ten extraordinary perfumes that are shaking up scent culture today – from the way they are made to the way we wear them. Featuring the likes of Geza Schoen’s scientific scent Molecule 01, Killian Wells’ theme-park inspired Dark Ride and the nostalgia-inducing Charcoal by Lyn Harris (aka Perfumer H), this emerging group are pushing perfumes into more daring olfactory and cultural directions, which visitors will discover by immersing themselves into the smells and stories of the scents. Due to popular demand, the exhibition has been extended until 23 September.
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Somerset House Studios’ events programme [July – October 2017]
This autumn, Somerset House Studios has a new season of public events and collaborations. The Studios’ year-round programme of events sees Somerset House’s artistic residents directly engage with visitors through performances, critical discussions and workshops. As well as providing a platform for some of today’s most exciting artistic voices, Somerset House Studios also supports the community of artists, makers and thinkers onsite by facilitating opportunities for research and developing new projects with UK-based and international organisations. New collaborations include partnering Studios residents with academics from King’s College London, and an international outing of the Nocturnal City series at Mutek, the international electronic music and digital arts festival in Montreal this August. Electronic producer Beatrice Dillon will also up residence in The Deadhouse throughout September.
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Larry Achiampong: Pan African Flag For The Relic Travellers’ Alliance [until 7 January 2018]
A New Somerset House Flag Commission
Somerset House has commissioned one of its Studios residents to create a flag to fly over its famous courtyard, celebrating a season of African art at Somerset House. British-Ghanaian artist Larry Achiampong was one of the first residents to join Somerset House Studios, Somerset House’s innovative artist workspace, on its launch in October 2016. His practice employs iconography, aural and visual archives and live performance to explore ideas of cross-cultural and post-digital identity. In the first of a new series of flag commissions by artists responding to the cultural programme at Somerset House, Achiampong has created a flag which explores Afro-futurism and African diasporic identity. Using a symbolic colour palette, Achiampong has configured the design into a form suggestive of a human figure in flight; an afro-futuristic icon moving towards unity and equilibrium.
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TransforMOTION [8 September 2017]
Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court and Embankmenet Galleries, Free

TransforMOTION is a free, one-day event in the Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, curated by Bosch, which will explore the future of urban mobility and lift the lid on tomorrow’s technology.  Showcasing solutions for stress-free and safer journeys to cleaner air, visitors will be able to drive various vehicles around a purpose-built track, from the classic Schwalbe scooter with its new electric drive train and an eBike, to the Bosch showcar in its first public showcase in the UK.  There will also be talks from special guests and a ‘makers’ area’, where a series of demonstrations and workshops will take place with a range of innovative new products being developed by Makerversity’s membership community based at Somerset House.

Design Frontiers [18-24 September 2017]
Site-wide, Free

Taking place during London Design Festival, Design Frontiers is a group exhibition featuring 30 international designers renowned for pushing the boundaries in their respective disciplines, from fashion to product design and digital to performance. The show will explore the intersection between innovation and the demands of the modern marketplace by pairing designers with their preferred clients and companies to create installations that test the frontiers of their industry; examples include the likes of Arik Levy matched with COMPAC and Benjamin Hubert with AXYL. Additionally, PriestmanGoode will move part of its design studio to Somerset House for an installation entitled Please Don’t Feed the Designers. Visitors will be able to see designers working on projects in real time, engaging with the creative process and gaining insight into working at the forefront of the future of transport. 

1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair [5 - 8 October 2017]
East and West Wing Galleries, Tickets on sale from mid-August

The leading international art fair dedicated to contemporary African art will return to Somerset House in October. 1:54 strives to promote a diverse set of African perspectives from around the world and has carefully selected 41 leading galleries specialising in contemporary African art from 18 countries across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and North America: Algeria, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia, France, Ghana, Italy, Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique, Nigeria, Portugal, South Africa, Spain, Switzerland, Tunisia, the United Arab Emirates, the United Kingdom and the United States. The fair will showcase the work of more than 130 emerging and established African and African diaspora artists, working in a wide variety of mediums and from a spread of geographical backgrounds comprising 32 countries.

The Learned Society of Extra Ordinary Objects [5 July-3 September 2017]
Terrace Rooms, Free entry

Somerset House’s Terrace Rooms will transform into the headquarters of The Learned Society of Extra-Ordinary Objects, a fictional 18th century society inspired by the real history of Somerset House. The Society’s recreated ‘Club Room’ will set the scene for a unique design exhibition centred on imagination, narrative and storytelling. For the exhibit, 30 contemporary designers, artists and makers, including British sculptor Richard Wentworth and ceramicist Richard Slee, have been invited to become the new, 21st century Fellows of the Society and create or contribute objects worthy of the fictitious Society’s collection.
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Somerset House presents a diverse range of learning and participation events throughout the year aimed at all ages. The programme includes talks, screenings and workshops that often coincide with the rich cultural programme of exhibitions and public projects at Somerset House.

Free Family Drop-in Workshop: Adhoc Comics
Saturday 2 September
12:00 – 15:00, South Wing

Age Range: 6-12 year olds accompanied by an adult
Inspired by The Learned Society of Extraordinary Objects, artist lead Rosie Allen will guide participants to cut, stick and draw everyday objects, transforming them into extraordinary characters and bringing them to life in a comic strip.

Hassan Hajjaj In Conversation With Ekow Eshun
Thu 5 October 2017
19.00-20.30, £12, £10 concessions

Coinciding with the launch of exhibition Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, join the visionary photographer and writer Hassan Hajjaj, as well as cultural commentator and award-winning broadcaster Ekow Eshun. The two will discuss the new solo exhibition, Hassan's first in the UK in six years, as well as his working processes, and the underlying themes and multi-cultural influences within the world of contemporary photography.  


Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys [19 October 2017 – 21 January 2018]
The Courtauld Gallery, Included in Gallery admission ticket (from £7)
This exhibition brings together an outstanding group of portraits by Chaïm Soutine (1893-1943). Soutine was one of the leading painters in Paris in the 1920s and 1930s and was seen by many as the heir to Vincent van Gogh. In the early 1920s, he became fascinated by the cooks and waiting staff of French hotels and restaurants, attired in boldly coloured uniforms. The portraits of these humble figures Soutine painted over the following decade helped to establish his reputation. This major show is the first time Soutine has been the subject of a significant exhibition in the United Kingdom for 35 years.

Melancholia - a Sebald variation [21 September – 10 December]
Inigo Rooms, King’s College London, Somerset House East Wing, Free
This exhibition takes the writings of W.G. Sebald as the occasion for a meditation on the theme of melancholy in art and literature. Inspired by Sebald’s account of the bombing of Germany at the end of the Second World War, it begins with the sight and sound of the ruined cities. It includes works by a range of artists, from Albrecht Dürer to Anselm Kiefer, with specially-commissioned works by Tacita Dean, and the UK debut of Guido van der Werve's award-winning film Nummer Vierteen: Home.

For press enquiries please contact or 020 7845 4624

Notes to Editors: 
Opening Hours: Monday-Wednesday: 10am - 6pm; Thursday-Sunday: 11am - 8pm. May vary, check website for details before your visit.
Address: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Transport: Temple, Embankment, Covent Garden   Charing Cross, Waterloo, Blackfriars
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About Somerset House
A unique part of the London cultural scene, Somerset House is an historic building where surprising and original work comes to life. From its 18th-century origins, Somerset House has been a centre for debate and discussion – an intellectual powerhouse for the nation. Somerset House is today a key cultural destination in London in which to experience a broad range of artistic activity, engage with artists, designers and makers and be a part of a major creative forum – an environment that is relaxed, welcoming, and inspirational to visit while providing a stimulating workplace for the cultural and creative industries.  

Since its opening in 2000, Somerset House has built up a distinctive outdoor public programme including Skate, concerts, an open-air film season and a diverse range of temporary exhibitions throughout the site focusing on contemporary culture, with an extensive learning programme attached. In October 2016, Somerset House launched Somerset House Studios, a new experimental workspace connecting artists, makers and thinkers with audiences. The Studios provide a platform for new creative projects and collaboration, promoting work that pushes bold ideas, engages with urgent issues and pioneers new technologies. Somerset House is also one of the biggest community of creative organisations in London including The Courtauld Gallery and Institute of Art, King’s College London Cultural Institute and over 100 other creative businesses. It currently attracts approximately 3.4 million visitors every year.