In Search of Selfhood: Eddie Peake at White Cube

Eddie Peake’s fourth exhibition at White Cube explores the autobiographical, a theme by now synonymous with the artist’s work.

Whilst the product of a pertinently middle-class upbringing – his grandfather was the celebrated novelist and Royal Academy alumni Mervyn Peake; his father is a writer and artist; his mother is the prominent sculptor and academic Phyllidia Barlow – Peake has seemingly sought to disengage from his bourgeois roots. Taking his cue from his other ‘mother culture’ – that of urban sub-culture – Peake’s love for the urban environment and its attendant cultural transactions shines through.

an impressive quality of timelessness and primitivism,

despite their strikingly contemporary aesthetic

Sonic arts find utility in Stroud Green Road, a sound installation which incorporates field recordings from the locale of his Finsbury Park neighbourhood. The looped audio of the piece suggests the sleeplessness of city life, reinforced by the steady wash of pink light continually cast over the work. This looping motif finds further resonance in the labyrinthine geometry in many of the paintings featured in the exhibition, executed with an impressive quality of timelessness and primitivism, despite their strikingly contemporary aesthetic. Their near-indecipherability is deliberately akin to that of graffiti’s hallmark ‘insider’s only’ style, a genre Peake cites as a major influence.

Peake applies his deeply personal touch with a fluid sensibility

From sound to sculpture, canvas to immersive, a sense of structure is prevalent, yet the materiality of the urban landscape in Concrete Pitch is a minor player compared to the human factor, for this is where Peake breathes life into his work. With the choice, for example, to feature live DJs from long-running drum’n’bass and jungle radio outpost Kool London, Peake applies his deeply personal touch with a fluid sensibility.

At the centre of the exhibition is the artist himself, present daily in scheduled activities. Here the theme of ritual, omnipresent throughout, is further pulled into focus as Peake moves through his routine to provide a multi-perspective take on notions of self-consciousness.

Concrete Pitch at White Cube South Galleries, Bermondsey, until April 8 2018.

Image: White Cube (Ollie Hammick)

 

Crystal Bennett
About Crystal Bennett 8 Articles
Crystal Bennett was a ship yard worker in northern Italy, a royal butler in Casablanca and a movie star in the Republic of Georgia before joining the Trebuchet team as art editor. "Truth is stranger than fiction." - Mark Twain

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