Emma Hart’s multidisciplinary practice includes sculpture, video, photography and performance. Her recent ceramic pieces possess an unruly aesthetic and are often autobiographical.
Fork Face (2017) is a vivid yellow satellite dish, one of ten which were displayed at Frieze London 2017 in a presentation titled Commercial Breakz. Here, the plethora of satellite dishes were mounted to a wall, much like an arrangement sometimes found on the exterior of a block of flats. Each dish is individually decorated, representing Hart’s ongoing investigation into pattern, from visual design to our own ruminative behaviours. For Fork Face, the artist portrays herself surrounded by protruding forks. She is simultaneously being propped up, and prodded, suggestive of the everyday stresses and discomforts of the human experience.
This piece is part of a body of work by Emma Hart, which is a continuation of some of the themes explored in Mamma Mia!, her solo exhibition at The Whitechapel Gallery in 2017. Mamma Mia! was the result of her research and time spent in Italy after she won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Hart spent two months in Milan, observing families attending therapy sessions at the Scuola Mara Selvini Palazzoli, in which therapists explore the cycles of behaviour within family groups. The second part of the residency was spent in Faenza, where the artist learnt many of the skills synonymous with the ceramic traditions of the city. Both aspects of the Max Mara residency culminated in creating Mamma Mia!, an installation that explored pattern, from visual patterns to patterns of psychological behaviour. The work also considered the design and rupture of pattern and the ruminations in between.