Hannah Lees

Art Free
3 out of 5 stars

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

There aren’t any words in young London artist Hannah Lees’s show at this Peckham gallery. There is, however, a projection of a prissy pink skyline ripped from a perfume advert and an arrangement of stained beanbags which, together with a soundtrack (a sort of remixed hum), creates a dialogue of the senses.

What Lees has also created is a kind of archaeology of used things. The space is curated: you experience the artist’s placement of the works as much as the works themselves. A few walls show streaming dye lines, and brass-cast acorns are placed like trails across the floor. Embedded in plaster tablets that stand like tombstones are the remnants of leaves and street tokens,Coca-Cola packaging and toothpaste cases that read like Egyptian hieroglyphics. Simply translated, this is a reading of Peckham’s debris. 

What Lees describes as an ‘intrinsic use of material that incorporates ethnography and alchemy’ ends up like a collection of human traces; and like her looped video of that perfume advert sky, it’s sickly alluring and a bit filthy at the same time. The show’s title,‘Ever-Old Newness/Ever-New Oldness’, seems perfect for what Lees has created. It’s got an air of nauseating nostalgia formed through an earthy combination of sense provoking objects – and it’s like getting a waft of an ex-lover’s scent.

Emily Mahon


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