Winter 2017 at Somerset House

This season, Somerset House will become the ultimate winter destination for inspiring contemporary culture, with exhibitions, installations, events, cutting edge music and festive shopping across the site

  • Somerset House Studios residents Eloise Hawser and Chloe Lamford to present new work

  • British-Moroccan artist Hassan Hajjaj in conversation with cultural commentator Ekow Eshun

  • North: Fashioning Identity curator Lou Stoppard in conversation with Studios residents Gareth Pugh & Charles Jeffrey

Eloise Hawser: By the deep, by the mark [31 January - 22 April 2018]
Part of the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series, Terrace Rooms, Free

Somerset House is delighted to announce a major solo show of new work by Somerset House Studios artist Eloise Hawser. Taking the form of a three-room installation, By the deep, by the mark is the result of over a year of research and artistic production whilst in residence onsite and offers visitors a unique insight into Hawser’s creative practice and the history of Somerset House. Hawser draws playful parallels between extraordinary feats of civil engineering and the intricate inner workings of the human body through sculptures, audiovisual displays, carefully researched archival material, floor vinyls and fully functional medical imaging ‘phantoms’.

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 through contemporary photography, fashion and art. The show features over 100 photographs, fashion garments and artworks from the likes of Jeremy Deller, Mark Leckey, Corinne Day and Gareth Pugh, alongside social documentary film and photography by Shirley Baker, John Bulmer and Peter Mitchell amongst others. The exhibition unpicks the themes present in these collective visions of northern England, considering why northern regions are such a source of inspiration. Originally shown at Liverpool’s Open Eye Gallery, the exhibition will be expanded at Somerset House and include over 20 new works from the likes of Raf Simons, Ken Grant and Vanley BurkeNorth: Fashioning Identity is supported by adidas.

Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane [5 October 2017 - 7 January 2018]
Part of the Charles Russell Speechlys Terrace Room Series, Terrace Rooms, Free

From 5 October, Somerset House and 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair will present new and celebrated works by Hassan Hajjaj. The exhibition reflects the British-Moroccan artist’s neo-nomadic lifestyle and the relationships he has formed along the way, from musicians to artists and athletes to street performers. In his first UK solo show in seven years, Hajjaj will showcase his vibrant fusion of north African culture with Western imagery and iconography, through works ranging from photographic portraits to sculpture, music to design, plus a brand new 9-screen video installation. The exhibition will continue as a standalone show after 1:54 Contemporary African Art Fair until 7 January.

Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason [15 November 2017 - 14 January 2018]
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, Tickets start £7.50 +booking fees

From 15 November, Somerset House 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. Visitors to the site will be welcomed by a stunning 40ft Christmas tree. There will be an array of activities for all ages, both on and off the ice, including cutting edge music at Skate Lates – featuring the likes of Field Day founders Eat Your Own Ears and premier club night Supa Dupa Fly – and lessons with Skate School and Polar Cub Club. Visitors can sample indulgent food and drink at the cosy pop-up restaurant Fortnum’s Lodge and get a head start on festive shopping at Fortnum’s Christmas Arcade.

Skate Lates [selected evenings from 16 November 2017 - 12 January 2018]
The Edmond J. Safra Fountain Court, £17.50 +booking fee

Skate Lates, a series of evening events celebrating music from across the globe, will bring nightlife like no other to Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason. Continuing Somerset House’s year-round commitment to showcasing musical talent, the classic winter destination will become a venue for music lovers across 17 selected evenings throughout the season, with a varied host of gifted DJs, musicians and artists taking to the rink-side decks. Beyond the rink, unique musical installations and activities will take place on a number of evenings, including a pop-up record shop, live music, and an exclusive gift of unheard music for skaters.


Chloe Lamford: Show Room [27 Oct 2017 – 6 May 2018]
Great Arch Hall, South Wing, Free

Leading theatre designer and Somerset House Studios resident Chloe Lamford will transform the Great Arch Hall in the first of a new series of artist commissions for this multi-purpose entrance space. Lamford’s installation calls to mind an imaginary, theatrical back-stage to Somerset House itself, with abandoned architectural features, imagined vistas, theatrical props, shimmering curtains and moveable stages to provide visitors the opportunity to be a player in an as-yet-unscripted play.

Anna Meredith & Music Hack Space [15 November 2017 - 14 January 2018]
Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason, 19:45 – 20:00, selected Weds-Fri

Composer Anna Meredith and music technology platform Music Hack Space, both residents of Somerset House Studios, are collaborating to create a brand new sonic artwork for Skate at Somerset House with Fortnum & Mason. The pair will use cutting edge technology to translate the movements of the ice-cleaning machine into a unique piece of music that will change each time it is played. The composition will act as a transition track ahead of each Skate Lates evening, from 19.45-20.00 on selected Wednesdays-Fridays throughout the run.

Larry Achiampong: Pan African Flag For The Relic Travellers’ Alliance [until 31 January 2018]
A New Somerset House Flag Commission

Somerset House has commissioned the British-Ghanian artist Larry Achiampong to create a flag to fly over its famous courtyard in celebration of a season of African art onsite. A resident of Somerset House Studios, the site’s innovative workspace for multi-disciplinary artists, Achiampong’s flag is an extension of his Relic Traveller project which explores Afro-futurism and African diasporic identity. The flag portrays a human figure in flight using a symbolic colour palette and depicts 54 stars for the 54 African countries.



Somerset House presents a wide range of one-off 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.

Hassan Hajjaj In Conversation With Ekow Eshun [5 October 2017]
Screening Room, 19.00-20.30, £12, £10 concessions

Coinciding with the launch of exhibition Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, visitors have the opportunity to see visionary artist Hassan Hajjaj in conversation with cultural commentator and award-winning broadcaster Ekow Eshun. The two will discuss Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, the artist’s first UK exhibition in seven years, as well as his working processes, and the underlying themes and multi-cultural influences within the world of contemporary photography.

Larry Achiampong: Voyage of the Relic Traveller [5 October 2017]
River Rooms, 20.30 – 21.00, Free

Larry Achiampong, the artist commissioned to create Somerset House’s winter flag, will present a special performance as part of his ongoing Relic Traveller series. The live performance will employ spoken word, remixed audio samples and found imagery to share the next chapter in the Relic Traveller’s journey.

Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane Closing Party [6 January 2018]
Seamen’s Hall, South Wing, 15.30- 18.00, Free

To celebrate the end of the Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, Somerset House is hosting a closing event filled with the sights and sounds that inspire Hajjaj’s work. Visitors can enjoy musical performances by artists featured in Hajjaj’s My Rockstars Experimental Vol. 2 video, alongside a display of communal artwork created in collaboration with artists Abimaro and Lakwena, young people and Somerset House visitors.



Somerset House Studios: In Conversation [From 22 November 2017]
River Rooms, New Wing, 19.00 -21.00, £7, £5 concessions

Somerset House Studios: In Conversation is a new bi-monthly series profiling the work and influences of Studios artists. The first event features North: Fashioning Identity curator Lou Stoppard, renowned for her SHOWstudio interviews, in discussion with resident artists Gareth Pugh and Charles Jeffrey. The conversation will take in the pair’s relocation from North to South, the impact this has had on their networks and the importance of reputation in an industry that demands constant newness. Future pairings of Studios residents will include leading theatre designers Chloe Lamford & Tom Scutt, and musicians in residence Anna Meredith & LoneLady.

Nocturnal City: London-Barcelona [14 October 2017]
River Rooms & Lancaster Rooms, New Wing, 16.00 - 00.30, Tickets from £10

The second event in the Nocturnal City series explores the interplay between London and Barcelona with an evening of panels, installations and musical performances. The event will be headlined by electronic producer Ikonika, with performances by SIREN DJs, Sunny Graves (live), and AWWZ. The line-up also features DJs, artists and producers from both cities including DIY Space for London, academic madison moore, Georgia Taglietti (Sonar & Sonar+D) and Joe Alexander (Boiler Room) and Aleix Fernandez of OnionLab. Curated by Studios resident Estela Oliva and commissioned & produced by Somerset House Studios. The Nocturnal City series will conclude with an event pairing London with Manchester on 27 January 2018.

Jennifer Walshe: Sound Salon [From 15 November 2017]
G16, New Wing, Free
Jennifer Walshe
’s monthly series of Sound Salons – co-curated with Adam Harper and Michael Waugh – returns to explore how new trends in emerging technologies might influence the music of the future, kicking off with a focus on sound, sexuality and robots. This popular series aims to fuel critical discussions and new analyses of post-internet sound and music. Guest speakers to be announced.



This winter, the Somerset House Shop in the East Wing will offer visitors the opportunity to shop a unique new selection of items from artists, makers and thinkers based in the building. Bespoke exhibition catalogues are available including a comprehensive edition for North: Fashioning Identity, filled with commentary from the co-curators, the exhibiting artists as well as leading essayists. For Hassan Hajjaj: La Caravane, part of the artist’s studio and shop – usually based in Hackney – will be transported to Somerset House. It will be filled with brightly coloured north-African wares from jewellery to clothing and ceramics to vintage vinyl. There will be a number of bespoke items on sale to celebrate the show such as a limited edition prints of a Kesh Angels artwork and a Giclée print of Bumi Sittin’, hand-signed by Hassan and Bumi.



Soutine’s Portraits: Cooks, Waiters and Bellboys [19 October 2017 – 21 January 2018]
The Courtauld Gallery, Tickets 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 30s 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 UK for 35 years.

Melancholia – a Sebald variation [Until 10 December 2018]
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.



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Notes to Editors:

Opening Hours:
Saturday - Tuesday: 10am - 6pm; Wednesday –Friday: 11am - 8pm. May vary, check website for details.
Address: Somerset House, Strand, London, WC2R 1LA
Transport: London Underground: Temple, Embankment, Covent Garden; National Rail: 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.