Spotlight

Feature Soho House Art Prize winner Sarah Hardie

Championed by Kate Bryan
Visual Arts
The Wick - Still from 'Spring sometimes rises in me too', Sarah Hardie (2021)
Above  Still from ‘Spring sometimes rises in me too’, Sarah Hardie (2021)
ONES TO
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ONES TO
WATCH
The Wick - Sarah Hardie, image by Maxwell Bamber
Above  Sarah Hardie, image by Maxwell Bamber
Interview
Sarah Hardie and Kate Bryan
08 June 2021
Interview
Sarah Hardie and Kate Bryan
08 June 2021
The inaugural Soho House Art Prize was announced in June 2020 as a new global contemporary art prize to discover artistic talent with the help of a highly respected international judging panel. This included Sky Arts presenter, Curator and Soho House Head of Collections Kate Bryan; Director of Tate Maria Balshaw CBE; and Artist and Bombay Sapphire Creator Hebru Brantley. Scottish-Italian artist Sarah Hardie’s theatre, opera and dance-inspired work caught the judges’ eye to be named the winner, beating off more than 1,000 other applicants.

Kate Bryan said, “The first Soho House Art Prize was launched with Bombay Sapphire at a moment of great uncertainty across the world. We hoped it might provide a source of inspiration and support to artists at a difficult moment. We were delighted, moved and motivated by the incredible applications we received, especially those of the runners up and our fantastic winner Sarah Hardie.”

This Thursday 10 June sees the release of a new video work by Hardie, Spring sometimes rises in me too, commissioned as a result of winning the Prize. This symphonic-video-essay was written throughout lockdown in 2020 and explores a female experience of lockdown, motherhood, production and nature – the marks we leave on others and the earth around us through either our care or neglect.
“I think great art is often deeply personal whilst making space for the viewer, allowing for universality amidst the detail of lived experience,” Kate Bryan told us. “Sarah Hardie’s symphonic-film-essay does exactly that. Created as the culmination of the inaugural Soho House Art Prize, the piece secured her place among a generation of artists who are finding new ways to talk about the lived female experience. Deftly weaving together extensive research, the voice, dance, installation and performance, Sarah is an artist who has proven creativity will find a way against all the odds.”

Inspired by Hardie’s own biography and the events of summer 2020, Spring sometimes rises in me too arose from Hardie reading Zadie Smith’s essay ‘Peonies’ from her Intimations: Six Essays, which was written through the first lockdown, as well as the discovery of a cassette tape recorded in 1979 featuring Hardie’s mother singing along to artists she admired at the age of 23. (Her mother trained as an opera singer before Hardie was born but wasn’t able to pursue a professional career due to her child-caring responsibilities.)

This symphonic-video-essay is an ode to the unrealised dreams of mothers who have enabled their daughters through their care, and the cyclic nature of reproduction.

Hardie says: “We didn’t know what we’d find on the tape as we didn’t even have a working cassette player to play it on – all we knew was that it was a recording of ‘Robina singing’, as labelled by my gran. A friend kindly digitised the work and I ended up basing my entire film on it. It had become something even more interesting over time, with time causing literal ‘marks’ on it, which can be heard when playing it back. I love the idea of hearing time, which these marks represent, as well as the resurfacing of my mother’s hopes, dreams and talent.”

She adds: “While I’m an artist concerned with production, adding my voice to hers in the film, in many ways, represents her (re)production and my work explores the compulsion for both that I and many other women feel. I am the result of all the marks my mother has left on me, from hearing her voice in the womb onwards.”

The film will be available to watch from Thursday 10 June, via www.sohohouse.com. If Hardie has her way though, at some point in the future, it will be exhibited in a gallery, or even performed as it was originally intended before Covid-19 with an accompanying installation of thousands of flowers. Here’s hoping…

About the champion

The Wick - Kate Bryan

When she’s not on our television screens helping to discover fresh artistic talent on the much-loved Sky Arts Portrait Artist of the Year and Landscape Artist of the Year series, Kate Bryan is still unearthing the most exciting up-and-coming talent in her role as Soho House’s head of collections. If you’re looking for the artists to watch, she’s the curator to know.

“Sarah is an artist who has proven creativity will find a way against all the odds.”

Place of Birth

Falkirk, Scotland

Education

MA (Hons) Fine Art at The University of Edinburgh, Edinburgh College of Art (2006-2011) and an MA History of Art at The Courtauld Institute of Art

Awards, Accolades

Soho House Art Prize (2020) and Royal Scottish Academy New Contemporaries, Stuart Prize (2012)

Current exhibitions

Soho House Art Prize commissioned film available to view from Thursday, 10 June, at www.sohohouse.com

Advice

Keep going. Passion breeds passion. Find the collaborators who encourage and enable yours while challenging you continually, and work with them forever.


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