Hannah Lees

AFA 2 (2) @ Art-O-Rama 2016, Aug 26 – 28

25 August 2016

The AFA 2 (2) group show is a Guest Project on at Marseille’s Art-O-Rama 2016 opening August 26 and running to the 28.

The show, led by nomadic ‘art project staircase’ 63rd-77th STEPS, will feature works by ÅYR,  Jesse DarlingLouisa Gagliardi, Gregory KallicheMartin KohoutHannah Lees, Kareem Lotfy, Daniele Milvio, Yuri Pattison, Fabio SantacroceAnna SolalDiamond Stingily, Philipp TimischlZoe Williams and Bruno Zhu among many others.

AFA is an Italian term for ‘mugginess’ ; a reference to the exhausting weather condition and the title of the first instalment that happened in a deserted bank over three days in Italy’s Bari in 2014, and the second, AFA 2, on a public beach in 2014. The press release for AFA 2 (2) explains its used as “a metaphor of our social, political and artistic scenario, and turned by the artists into black & white artworks, digitally printed on microfiber.”

To support the exhibition program, beach towels designed by the artists will be on sale.

See the FB event page for details.**

Jesse Darling, 'Beachtowel jpg for AFA 2.2' (2016). Courtesy of artist + group show 3rd-77th STEPS, Marseille
Jesse Darling, ‘Beachtowel jpg for AFA 2.2’ (2016). Courtesy of artist + group show 3rd-77th STEPS, Marseille
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Hannah Lees @ Tenderbooks, Aug 5 – 27

2 August 2016

Hannah Lees is presenting solo exhibition All That There Is, is the Eternal Now at London’s Tenderbooks, opening August 5 and running to August 27.

The exhibition compliments the launch of the London-based artist’s book, To Open What Is Shut () To Shut What Is Open, Part I: To Bring About Positive Change. Vegetable dyes and wine sediment will be utilized as “vivid decorations for the space while handmade magical incense, freshly baked wild wheat bread, and natural wines” are offered to visitors.

The publication is partly a recipe book of ‘potions’ and ‘tonics’ devised by the artist and partly an instruction manual. The work in the exhibition functions as a companion.

See the Tenderbooks website for more details.**

Hannah Lees @ Tenderbooks, Aug 6 - 27

Hannah Lees, ‘Tablet Fragment I’ (2016). Installation view. Courtesy the artist.

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Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) @ Exo, May 12 – 19

9 May 2016

The Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) group show is on at Paris’ Exo, opening May 12 through May 19.

The exhibition —the title of which translates to ‘Roadside Picnic’ in English —includes work by the likes of Viktor Timofeev, Jason Benson, Martin Kohout, and Hannah Lees, each of whom have contributed a lot to the art world’s conversation on human self-comprehension and the related speculation around the existence of the ‘natural’ world during “The Time of The Anthropocene”, to quote philosopher Bruno Latour, who’s words are echoed in the press release.

The show borrows its title from 1970s Russian science fiction novel of the same name about an extraterrestrial occurrence called ‘The Visitation’, that happened for two days across six sites simultaneously, unbeknownst to the local people. The book compares the event to a picnic, while the exhibition’s press release also includes a paragraph from Annihilation (2014) by Jeff Vandermeer that describes a picture of the discovery of left-over rusted equipment and tents that were “little more than husks” in an aftermath of an expedition made by humans gone long before.

Other artists in Пикник на обочине (Piknik na obochine) are Eric Veit, Mia Goyette and frequent collaborators, Anne De Boer and Eloise Bonneviot, whose solo show of performances O Super (hu/wo-) man is currently on at London’s Green Ray, running May 16.

See the FB event for more details.**

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Hannah Lees @ The Sunday Painter, Sep 4 – Oct 2

4 September 2015

London-based artist Hannah Lees is presenting her solo exhibition Ever-Old Newness /|\ Ever-New Oldness at The Sunday Painter, opening September 4 and running to October 2.

Some recent works and contributions include one to m-Health group exhibition at Cell Project Space and online commission ‘This is the Path‘ (2014) for OPENYOURKIMONO and ‘Nothing and Nowhere‘ to Joey Villemont‘s ‘relaax.in‘ online exhibition.

See The Sunday Painter website for details. **

Hannah Lees, 'as rust consumes the iron which breeds it' (2015). Install view. Courtesy Cell Project Space, London.
Hannah Lees, ‘as rust consumes the iron which breeds it’ (2015). Install view. Courtesy Cell Project Space, London.
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Reflecting on m-Health

11 August 2015

m-Health calms and rejuvenates you. The show, running at London’s Cell Project Space from July 25 to August 2, as a whole is an event that lasts for several days with physical works that feel like place-holders or mood-setters. It begins with a micro-event weekend of four presentations and performances by Norwegian artist Andreas Ervik, yoga and body-extension instructor, Mayan Patel and London based artists, Jonny JJ Winter and Hannah Lees, who give out individual sourdough balls in goody bags after a Sunday evening rooftop baking session.

In Cell Project Spaces main gallery space artist Ian Giles has painted the back wall in faded olive green and there are small ceramic bulb-like bowls with aromatherapy oils burning inside them producing tiny streams that float above the first bench in the show. You’re invited to sit there by the lovely invigilator who provides you with a glass of water when you do. The tiny streams fill the whole room. On the first Saturday during Ervik and Wintersperformances, the aromatherapy oils burn rejuvenating energy for one half of the day, for the second half they burn calming and slowing energy.

Mayan Patel, 'Yoga and Meditation' (2015) Install view. Courtesy SANKE and the artist.
Mayan Patel, ‘Yoga and Meditation’ (2015) Install view. Courtesy SANKE and the artist.

The second bench in the show is one you cant sit on so easily, or at least it references those benches you find in the city: ones too short to fit a tired adult head and legs on; ones fitted out with spikes; ones that refuse any kind of respite. For m-Health, London-based artists Pablo Jones-Soler has set two handled pieces in concrete blocks. They actually look a bit like cots. It’s as though theyd been lifted straight off the road and into this art-spa. Conversely, they might have been those benches taken from a hypothetical ‘how-to-gentrify’ tool kit, set straight into the concrete outside a newly rejuvenated site.

This show, like most good ones, makes you think about things outside of the room, inside of your body and the implications of you, physically – particularly while sitting on Gilesbench. It’s here that the amethyst in Hannah Leescut up repurposed red wine barrels of our life, that temporary eclipse to that other’ (2015) starts to work on you. Because according to ancient myth if one drinks alcohol whilst wearing amethyst close to any part of the body, the alcohol will not take hold. In other words, the inside of the body remains non-toxic.

As though to absorb the event of an art show preview inside a single-bodied artwork, Jonny JJ Winters handmade juice bar offers ~~_`~~(drinks), inscribed in a non-language in mud on a menu hanging above the jigsawed wood. It exists around the back of the rest of the show where it stays: a mess untouched until the close of m-Health. Rotting – but local(!!) – blended fruit sits still after a week with stale olives. The reverse side of Gilesolive green wall has had a mud face-mask but maybe one that is left too long. It’s crumbling. Hangover Drink’ (2015), which is described by the artist as something reverse spherifiedand includes an aggressively added pinch of watercresscould have been you, intoxicated on the inside trying to physically un-do the absorption.

The emphasis (and celebration) of local, immediate rawness is also calmly presented in SANKE, by Andreas Ervik. SANKE, meaning
to gatherin Norwegian, is a brand that makes things like REGN, a perfume that smells like earth after a shower of summer rain, according to the website, where you can purchase items from the different ranges. For m-Health, and live all afternoon on that initial Saturday, Ervik presents and launches the new range alongside a slow, serene promo-video that is fixed to the wall elegantly. SANKE makes you think of the forest. That deep thought alone can work to re-configure something quite animal in you: a bit like when you take a proper and full breath, once in a while. It (the thought) feels a bit like the copper plate that oxidises and re-purifies – and turns bright blue – both Lees’ repurposed red wine barrels and the water inside them that holds Leesrush weeds, floating and alive.

Rachel Reupke provides the second calming video for m-Health. ‘Containing Matters of No Very Peaceable Colour’ (2009) introduces the feeling that bath towels hold in their absorbing softness an intense sense of the body, beautifully and strikingly. Played over the rolling pink hues of folded (stock image) towels is a soundtrack of a list of chanted Google hashtags:

female, couples, domestic, flat, ages: 20-25 years, ages 25-30 years, one woman only, only one woman, family, family with two children” etc.

It’s as though the bath towel is Google and it hugs you as soon as you fit into the right category. Precious body. But also non-specific, it turns out, after you put the headphones down and consider that Google recital, playing on repeat beneath every commodity that’s for sale online.**

Exhibition photos, top right.

m-Health group exhibition was on at London’s Cell Project Space, running from July 25 to August 2, 2015.

Header image: Andreas Ervik, ‘REGN (fragrance of SANKE)’ (2015). Install view. Courtesy SANKE and the artist.

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NEWD Art Show @ The 1896, Jun 6 – 7

5 June 2015

NEWD Art Show is back for another round, taking over Brooklyn’s The 1896 this weekend.

The art show brings together a stacked list of local curatorial voices—including artist-run galleries, collectives, project spaces, and nonprofits—and some experimental programming, including talks focusing on modern economics of the art world.

This year’s exhibitors include, amongst others, a handful of galleries from Brooklyn, like American Medium, Signal, and Sardine,  as well as about 50 international artists, including Ann Hirsch, Jaimie Warren, Harm van den Dorpel, Hannah Lees, and Brian Khek.

See the NEWD website for details. **

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John @ The Sunday Painter, Apr 2 – May 3

31 March 2015

The Sunday Painter is bringing an inaugural four-artist exhibition titled John to its newly renovated London space, where it will run from April 2 to May 3.

The London gallery welcomes four different artists to take part in the group show John. From the UK, there are London artists Hannah Lees, who recently participated in a website art commission for OPENYOURKIMONO, and David Musgrave, who has exhibited at Tate Britain and appears as part of MoMA’s collection in New York.

Lees and Musgrave are joined by Polish artist Piotr Lakomy, who showed previously at The Sunday Painter with a solo show titled Life Size Shadow in the summer of 2013, as well as US artist Allyson Vieira.

See the exhibition page for details. **

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Hannah Lees + OPENYOURKIMONO @ SLG, June 27

23 June 2014

Artist Hannah Lees celebrates the launch of her new website, titled thisisthepath.com, as well as an accompanying book at the South London Gallery bookshop on June 27.

The website in question consists of a textual piece, gleaned by Lees from an assortment of Buddhist and self-help books and combined with visuals of sand and sounds of the ocean, that continues to investigate cycles of mortality and constancy evident in Lees’ work.

Commissioned by OPENYOURKIMONO – a digital platform founded and curated by Femke Oortwijn and Tristan Stevens that hosts online projects and posits the websites as art works in and of themselves – the event will serve both as the launch of Lees’ new website and as the launch of a limited-edition Artist’s Book to accompany the website.

This launch comes fourth in a series for OPENYOURKIMONO, following the recent launches the websites of LaTrubo Avedon with www.exit-01.com, that of Simon Davenport with www.sorenson.be, and that of Jonny JJ Winter with www.myso-calledlife.me.

See the OPEN YOUR KIMONO website or the SLG event site for details. **


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Whitstable Biennale, May 31 – Jun 15

22 May 2014

The UK’s Whitstable Biennale will be taking place from May 31 to June 15.

The biennial festival celebrates new visual art, film, and performance and has grown well outside of Whitstable’s art community, garnering an international reputation for up-and-coming artists and rich programmes.

The festival will feature the work of Martin John Callanan, Hannah Lees, Samuel Levack and Jennifer Lewandowski, Louisa Martin, Rachel Reupke, and Katrina Palmer among others.

See the Whitstable Biennale website for details. **

Mark Aerial Waller. Image courtesy Whitstable Biennale.
Mark Aerial Waller. Image courtesy Whitstable Biennale.
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Wearing Potentiality @ Paradise Row, May 16 – Jun 28

15 May 2014

Group exhibition Wearing Potentiality is happening at London’s Paradise Row, as part of its The Basement exhibition program for emerging artists running concurrently with the main program, opening May 16 and running to June 28.

Curated by Attilia Fattori Franchini and featuring UK-based artists Matt Ager, Laura Aldridge, James Clarkson, Hannah Lees and Dominic Watson, the exhibition looks at the idea of  ‘potentiality’ “not as the future actualisation of an idea, but as the formless status of becoming”.

Focussing on processes rather than results, the artists resist the urge to reification by the act of ‘culture-making’ as the verb it clearly is through the unprecedented possibilities of new technologies.

The show also comes with a text written by Marie D’Elbee, which goes as follows:


See the Paradise Row website for details. **

Dominic Watson, 'European Hero' (2014).  Leather Jacket, LED's, 9-Inch Nail, Coat Hanger.
Dominic Watson, ‘European Hero’ (2014). Image courtesy the artist and Paradise Row.
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‘Young London’ @ V22 Studios reviewed

19 September 2013

An annual celebration of artists in the city, exhibitors at V22 StudiosYoung London, were this year selected by a panel including Space studio’s Paul Peroni, V22 director Tara Cranswick, as well as a host of art school teachers and previous Young Londoners nominating their peers. Now in its third edition, the event has built its reputation by acting on this shortlist only after seeing each and every one of the graduates’ shows in person, be it tracking round final year projects or stealthily checking out group shows. Once selected the artists have only a short four weeks to create site-specific works, two to install them in the enormous Bermondsey warehouse space.

Of the 31 pieces across the massive floor space, Rhys Coren’s ‘If We Can Dance Together’ (2013) catches the eye first. A video installation that loops animations of different colours; going from crayon-yellow, blue and black, with occasional stampeding hooves, dots or lines of white. Across eight separate fat-monitor TVs on the floor, accompanied by a disco soundtrack on wireless headphones, it sets up a fun visual journey, viewed from around the centre-point of Room One, from which you can half-see Hannah Lees’  video projection ‘Eternal’ (2013).

The promising vegetable-dyed cloth and a prominently positioned projection is unfortunately lost in the refraction of lights beaming in on works nearby but, next door, large white box structures act as a solution; blacking out all distractions and showing works like ‘Mike Check’ (2013) by Alice Theobold. Filmed in HD but appearing quite grainy, the film nevertheless stands strong in terms of its content, which is made-up of rehearsal outtakes. The female lead is supposed to be a strong character, accusing her lover Mike of not telling the truth but in reality constantly asking the director, Hans Diernberger, to give her commands. It’s a great critique on the role of the spectator, Hollywood production, and post-feminist thinking: “Tell me to be me intimidating,” she says. “Be more intimidating!” he shouts back, in unending feedback that gradually fades away as a bouncing track from Ravioli Me Away takes over the speakers.

‘A Reading (Just In Case You Care)’ (2013) by Holly White next door also features music heavily, with snippets from Grimes’ Oblivion sound-tracking a mess of clips spliced together using software that can also be seen in action on White’s collaborative project with Gothtech or with super vloggers like PewDiePie. White says she likes to blast out Evanescence but “it has to be played on CD” in the manner of a confessional teenage video diary. It is a personal piece but also a timely one; when YouTube is investing in studio facilities for bloggers who have 1,000 subscribers and inviting them in to “chill”, in what is really a bid to push up the quality of video content and increase revenue. Back in Room One ‘How To Feel Better, A Display (Just In Case You Care) (2013), also by White, has homemade objects from the set of the video, such as a circle with dates of years and tiles with phrases like, “so I propose next week’s theme when you’re feeling down” in a move to address that disconnect between screen-based narrative and net-based interaction, so keenly felt overall. **

V22 Young London runs at V22 Workspace until the 3rd of November 3, 2013.

Header image: V22 Young London (2013). Photo by Ollie Hammick.

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