Hayward Gallery opens Jyll Bradley’s The Hop inspired by Kent hop gardens

Hayward Gallery opens Jyll Bradley’s The Hop inspired by Kent hop gardens

Artist Jyll Bradley connects the urban landscape of the South Bank to the rural hop gardens of Kent with a vibrant, interactive outdoor installation, The HopThe towering pavilion, made of metal, wood and  coloured plexiglass, creates brilliant light reflections and projects a spectrum of colours onto the Southbank Centre’s iconic Brutalist architecture. The Hop continues this year’s programme of striking outdoor installations at the Southbank Centre, offering free access to art for all. 

The work, which will be available to see until 2 October 2022, is inspired by the history of thousands of working class families from Lambeth bringing in the hop harvest – or ‘going hopping’ – which was viewed by some as a ‘working holiday’. Every year until the 1960s, these Londoners escaped the pollution of the city for the green hop gardens of Kent. 

Jyll’s installation echoes the geometry of Kent’s unique hop growing structures where vines were arranged to expose the crop to the maximum amount of sunlight. The Hop reaches outwards and upwards, evoking a gathering of people with outstretched arms. It considers the physical and spiritual work needed to grow something, whether a crop or a community. The work also hints at several temporary creative pavilions that were constructed nearby as part of the post-war Festival of Britain in 1951. Many of these pavilions were colourful, creative and futuristic spaces. When lit up at night, the South Bank became an exciting location for impromptu gatherings and even spontaneous dancing.

Jyll Bradley says: “The Hop is a work of time, memory and light. I felt an immediate connection to local ‘hopping’ stories: I grew up in the Kentish countryside and have spent all my adult life in Bermondsey. The work also speaks to the site as I worked at the Hayward as a young artist, learning about the post-war Festival of Britain with its creative pavilions. The Hop is made up of multiple elements and, like a hop garden, is the work of many hands. I see the sculpture as a collective, a gathering in itself, as well as a space for gathering and for solo contemplation.

Ralph Rugoff, Director at the Hayward Gallery, says: “Inspired by local histories, Jyll Bradley’s epic outdoor installation is an adventurous and engaging new work that appeals to visitors with its inspired architectural forms and its remarkable play with light and colour. As you walk through and around it, details of its appearance are constantly shifting, challenging our perceptual habits. At the same time, The Hop also creates an exciting and welcoming new environment on the Gallery’s western terrace – a glowing and colourful space in which visitors can explore, parade or rest and reflect.”  

An exciting collection of newly commissioned poetry, sound art and dance pieces are being created in response to The Hop. Poetry, inspired by the themes of the installation, has been commissioned from the New Poets Collective; sound artist and composer Emily Peasgood has created an original sound composition, influenced by futuristic electronic techniques from the 60s and 70s; and a series of dance performances, choreographed by Adesola Akinleye, will take place on 6 August within The Hop pavilion. In the days prior to the opening, dance company MCDC performed a newly commissioned routine which responded to the themes of The Hop through hip hop and contemporary movements. An ‘In Conversation’ event with Jyll Bradley and Director of Hayward Gallery, Ralph Rugoff, will take place on 21 September.

The work was designed in close partnership with structural engineer Ben Godber and Expedition Engineering, with Hayward Curatorial Assistant Debbie Meniru, Operations and Logistics Manager Marcia Ceppo, and Senior Installation Technician Maarten van den Bos managing the project’s realisation on site.  

The Hop has been realised with the generous support of the Hayward Gallery Commissioning Committee, and significant additional support from David Maclean. 

Hayward Gallery

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