Kunstinstituut Melly

William Hunt

13 Sep - 26 Oct 2008

William Hunt - Tempting Fate, Swimming Alone

Witte de With presents the first extensive solo exhibition to date of British artist William Hunt (b. 1977, London). Hunt completed his studies at Goldsmiths College (London) in 2005 and has since garnered critical attention for his endurance–based performances. At Witte de With, he will present a gallery installation which will form the backdrop to a series of new performances taking place during the opening weekend and throughout the exhibition.

In his work, William Hunt investigates the position and the potential of the body under artificial constraints. He draws upon (and questions) contemporary male and female stereotypes, the cult of youth and beauty, and connects these to the iconography of pop culture. Hunt’s performances have their roots in art historical traditions – most of all body art and pop art – but operate consciously within contemporary culture. His endurance–based performances have involved a degree of musical showmanship, played out under some situation of physical duress; such as hanging upside down, spinning on a turntable, or singing under water.

In his new work, Hunt continues to pursue the spirit of adventure with a self-deprecating and ironic look at vanity and ageing. The work takes the form of a multidisciplinary and multifunctional installation through which Hunt highlights parallels between the transformative processes of making art and the metamorphoses that occur in a beauty salon, striking a chord with the parallel battles that artists and beauticians fight against entropy. Hunt will use the installation for his performances that explore, scan, dissect, multiply and standardize his own body through different methods.

From an adapted beauty salon, and using a sun bed of sorts, Hunt will make life-size prints from the shadow projected by his trapped body, adapting the silkscreen technique. At a dressing table, he substitutes a mudpack with plaster to make a cast of his own head. He will display a wig, made out of his own hair, together with a specific black outfit and white trainers. This ‘costume’ will be used during the performances, and will be on display in the exhibition representing Hunt’s artist persona and forming a continuous image of the artist appearing in the documentation, in the face of this ever changing installation.

Alongside the detritus from each performance, prints, plaster casts, video, sound and photographic documentation will be shown, making visible the process of production. The entry ticket will remain valid during the entire exhibition to allow visitors to follow its development.
Dates of the performances and masterclass are listed on the overleaf.

Limited edition publication: A special artist’s edition, designed by Atelier Bernau Carvalho, accompanies Hunt’s new work. The publication will act as a tangible object that transforms from a book to a poster. It comprises a life-size body print of William Hunt, complemented with ”A Litany of Stoppages”, a selection of manual texts, news clippings, poetry, fiction and prose, selected by critic Sally O’Reilly that describe (in her words) “a circumference within which William Hunt’s performance work can be considered.”

Curated by: Belinda Hak and Nicolaus Schafhausen.

Kindly supported by: De Wereld van Witte de With, Stanley Thomas Johnson Foundation, September in Rotterdam, dienst Kunst en Cultuur, British Council.

*The opening of the solo exhibition by Sung Hwan Kim takes place simultaneously, during the festival De Wereld van Witte de With, marking the start of the cultural season. During the opening weekend, Witte de With stays open until 11 p.m. on Friday and Saturday and entry is free of charge.

Editor’s note
For more information: contact Nathalie Hartjes via tel. 0031 10 411 01 44 or by e-mail press@wdw.nl.

Performance dates:
Friday 12 September, 7.30 p.m at Witte de With
Saturday 13 September, 5 p.m. at no. 68 Witte de Withstraat
Sunday, 14 September, 5 p.m. at no 68 Witte de Withstraat (Following this performance the audience can meet William Hunt and talk with him about his practice)
Saturday 27 September, 5 p.m. at Witte de With
Saturday 11 October , 5 p.m. at Witte de With

On Tuesday 21 and Wednesday 22 October William Hunt gives a masterclass to young people in the age group 16 - 22. They are welcomed to apply until 15 September to Belinda Hak via belinda@wdw.nl. (Participation is free of costs.)

Biography: William Hunt (born London, 1977) lives and works in London, UK. Hunt completed his MA studies at Goldsmiths College, London in 2005. Hunt is part time lecturer in creative practice and design at Leeds Metropolitan University, UK.

Recent solo shows include: Even as You See Me Now, Rotwand, Zurich, Switzerland (2008); Put Your Foot Down, Art Unlimited Art Basel 38, Basel, Switzerland (2007) and Put Your Foot Down, IBID PROJECTS, London, UK (2006).

In 2006, Hunt’s work was shown at Witte de With as part of the group exhibition Don Quijote and was artist in focus during the event Can small battles change the world?

A selection of other group shows: Mind The Gap, Kunsthaus Glarus, Glarus, Switzerland (2008); Been Up So Long It Looks Like Down to Me, Presentation House, Vancouver, Canada (2007); Silence: Listen to the Show, Fondazione Sandretto Re Rebaudengo, Turin, Italy, curated by Francesco Bonami (2007); and KölnShow 2, Cologne, Germany, curated by Nicolaus Schafhausen (2007); Long Shore Drift, The Whitstable Biennale 2006, Canterbury, UK, curated by Sally O'Reilly and Mel Brimfield.

Tags: William Hunt, Sung Hwan Kim, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Nicolaus Schafhausen, Sung