Get To Know Our Next Artist in Resident, Eddie Peake
Eddie Peake, born in London in 1981, graduated from the Slade School of Fine Arts in 2006, was a 2008-09 scholar at the British School at Rome, and graduated from the Royal Academy, London in 2013. His varied artistic vocabulary encompasses performance, video, photography, painting, sculpture and installation.
Peake’s main focus lies in the lapses and voids inherent in the process of translating between verbal language and nonverbal modes of communication. It is in the discrepancy between words and any other language tools, such as images, emotions, bodily movements or sounds, that his art is located. Peake’s work is an often-energetic spectacle in which the absurd and the erotic each find a place, and in which the artist plays a central role. Works such as ENDYMION (2013); DURO (2015); THE FOREVER LOOP (2015); Eddie Peake: Where You Belong (2018) capture these concepts and intentions.
Peake is best known for his sexually charged performances. Endymion (left), for example, involved men and women covered in black and gold body paint; as they embraced and simulated sexual congress, the gold and black merge. The resulting bronzed bodies refer to antique statues, while the performers’ artificially pigmented skin hinted at the theme of race and the exchange of color suggested miscegenation. On the topic of sexuality, Peake states:
One of the things I want to do in my work, if it’s political at all—and I think that it is political—is to endeavor not to confirm binary categorizations of sexuality.
While studying at the Royal Academy, Peake staged a naked “five-a-side” football match in Burlington Gardners, Touch (2012) where the teams were differentiated only by the color of their socks and trainers. This performance piece addressed the inherent tactility and homoerotic exhibitionism in contact sports.
Peake’s continues to explore the body’s potential as a sculptural and an erotic object through various iterations of this performance including DURO (2015) (right) at the Palais de Tokyo in Paris.
Peake’s THE FOREVER LOOP (2015) involves two naked performers frolicking across a 90-meter-long curved hall, accompanied by roller-skaters clad in onesies, for 10 hours a day, seven days a week for three months.
The naked-bodies-as-artistic-material (and roller skaters) are complemented by a series of objects dotted around the space, including bonsais and a number of screens, showing documentation of past performances and home videos of him as a toddler.
The inspiration for the work came out of a frustration with certain technical aspects of showing artworks. “I’ve always had a problem walking into video installations in art galleries, entering a looped film and you don’t know if you’re at the beginning, middle or end. Through my disdain for that I became kind of obsessed with it,” the artist explains of the durational aspect of his piece.
Along with a fascination with identity and sexuality, there is a suspicion of the art world and its mechanisms operating in Peake’s work.
His recent work continues to investigate the possibilities of performance within an exhibition structure and the role of objects.
In Where You Belong (2018), Peak grouped a series of abstract canvases, of schematic and cartoon figures, a billboard-size photograph of a statuesque nude, and wall sculpture with busted openings placed in the center of the gallery. The works in the exhibition draws the audience in as a voyeur, implicating both viewer and subject in complex and conscious act.
To hear Peake discuss more about his work, check out the video below: