Hayward Gallery unveils Anthea Hamilton’s new outdoor film installation set to dazzle day and night

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A brand-new film commission Primetime, 2022, from internationally acclaimed British artist Anthea Hamilton will be on display outside the Hayward Gallery

The 24-hour-long film features four performers responding to a 1980s photograph of a male model, inspired by Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (c.1490) that challenges the ideal proportions of the human body in classical art

The film installation is part of a growing programme of free outdoor art installations
animating the Southbank Centre site

Anthea Hamilton, Primetime, 2022. Installation view at Hayward Gallery. Photo Pete Woodhead
Anthea Hamilton, Primetime, 2022. Installation view at Hayward Gallery. Photo Pete Woodhead

A new 24-hour-long film, Primetime, 2022, by Anthea Hamilton has been unveiled this week on the elevated terrace next to the Hayward Gallery, overlooking the Royal Festival Hall. The film launches this year’s expanding programme of striking outdoor installations, offering free access to art for all. 

Ralph Rugoff, Director at the Hayward Gallery, says: “Primetime is a visually stunning, thrillingly inventive project that plays with the dynamic between still and moving images, analog and digital, sculpture and video, whilst compellingly refreshing our ideas of what a ‘film’ can be.

Katie Guggenheim, Assistant Curator at the Hayward Gallery, says: Anthea Hamilton’s collaborative and de-centred approach to filmmaking has drawn on the creativity and expertise of her inspiring cast and production crew and the 24-hour timeline creates space for a highly subjective kind of collective self-portrait.” 

Anthea Hamilton, Primetime, 2022. Installation view at Hayward Gallery. Photo Mark Blower.
Anthea Hamilton, Primetime, 2022. Installation view at Hayward Gallery. Photo Mark Blower.

Primetime, 2022, (on show until 24 April) has been specifically conceived for the gallery’s architecture and location. The work features a photograph of an almost nude male model from the early 1980s intercut with new footage of four performers – Jasmine ChiuJordan JohnhopeDuane Nasis and Bakani Pick-Up. Each one draws on a broad repertoire of movements, images and references to generate distinctive sequences that are mapped onto the 24-hour cycle of a clock.

The performers’ movements respond to the scale and site of the screen as well as to the still photograph, which recalls Leonardo Da Vinci’s Vitruvian Man (c.1490), a depiction of the idealised muscular, male body, that, in intersection with the mathematical perfection of the circle and the square, describes the ideal proportions of the human body in classical art. Taken by the photographer Ken Haak, the seductive image was published in a men’s fitness manual in the early 1980s and was first used by Anthea Hamilton in a previous work Aquarius (2010). The image evokes the vulnerability of the sexualised gay male body on the cusp of the AIDS epidemic at the start of the 1980s. In revisiting the image for this new commission, Hamilton reflects on how recent radical shifts in the ways that images of bodies are produced and consumed have further eroded the dominance of this body aesthetic.

Throughout the film the performers appear in cameos, each finding different ways to mark or keep time by opening and closing their eyes, slowly walking across the screen, or moving until they reach exhaustion. Their movements are enhanced by lighting, make-up, camera work and post-production. Slow zooms create a distinctive motion of infinitely looping timelines in aesthetically pleasing mathematical phenomena known as the Mandelbrot Set, a structure with an infinite amount of fine detail. Rather than a marathon of content, the 24-hour long edit captures a continuum of non-narrative time that is synchronised with the daily changing light and celestial movements.

The performances have been conceived in close collaboration with Anthea Hamilton and a crew consisting of producer, Ese Onojeruo; production assistant, Marla Kellard-Jones; director of photography, Shamica Ruddock; second camera, Miles Williams, lighting designer Joshua Harriette; make-up artist, Tina Khatri; with editor, Spike Silverton. Stills photography is by Miles Perry.

Primetime, 2022was curated by Hayward Gallery Assistant Curator, Katie Guggenheim and will be available to see until 24 April, open 24-hours.

Anthea Hamilton, Primetime, 2022. Video synchronised to a 24-hour clock. 

Courtesy of the artist, kaufmann repetto Milan/New York and Thomas Dane Gallery

This commission by Anthea Hamilton is generously supported by the Hayward Gallery Commissioning Committee, with additional support from Adam and Mariana Clayton Collection, Thomas Dane Gallery, Candida and Zak Gertler, and kaufmann repetto, Milan / New York.Hayward Gallery Senior Technician: Maarten Van den BosLED screens, video sequencing and playback: LUX Technical

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