A new body of work by London based artist Hanae Wilke. Informed by her surroundings and starting with an observation, Wilke constructs sculptures and installations from industrial materials such as metal, pipes, brackets, fibreglass and resin. These works borrow qualities from existing and familiar objects, structures, forms, and systems that are often overlooked. Through material investigations, Wilke explores weight, tactility, texture, gesture and colour and the ways in which they act with and within space.
Drawing on the typography and language of narrowboats, Wilke examines alternative modes of living and habitable structures that could fit into speculative future narratives. These independent ‘vessels’ become the starting point to Wilke’s new body of work that offer a new exploration of ideas and shifts in future living which, in turn, become a template into exploring how micro-architecture might be applied within the urban environment.
Interested in the autonomy of these independent vessels that represent freedom, resourcefulness and self-determination, canal boats offer the possibility of alternative living in a wider sense. Looking to ideas of architecture that maintain and optimize human interaction and social frameworks, narrowboats seem like a romanticised ideal – an independent, self contained, self sufficient vessel and through this mode of living, how can one think more broadly about adaptability and alternative living?
Wilke has meticulously collected photographic material of narrowboats predominantly along the River Lea in East London, finding new sculptural forms within their own constructions and assemblages. Deck equipment such as the stern, anchors and rope along with domestic elements such as curtains, stickers and boat name designs build an aesthetic ‘tool-box’ for Wilke’s sculptural interventions. Through drawing and 3D modeling software, Wilke explores scale, colour, height and weight within her sculptural forms. Whilst manipulating, editing and rotating these initial digital sculptures, the process becomes the foundation of her work, functioning as a physical materialisation of thinking.
Wilke disassembles and stitches together these fragments – removed from their origins, the works become abstracted. These facades populate the gallery space; elevated from the walls, dispersed across the floor and suspended from one another both leading and obstructing the viewer across the space. By taking the familiar and distorting them, Wilke presents a series of works that maintain a sense of the hand drawn and often allude to the presence and absence of the body.
Given the urgency of the housing crisis, which has become notoriously dysfunctional, the exhibition considers how one might in the face of these constraints and social inequalities, seek alternative ways of living and reclaim private space within the urban environment.