British contemporary photographer, and installation artist Anne Hardy creates strange but convincing fictional worlds—'a parallel reality', as she described them to METAL's Catarina Marques—through surreal and immersive exhibitions. Her works combine sculpture, installation, audio, and photography, incorporating various objects and materials to create figurative and abstract set pieces. Often her works draw elements—sounds, imagery, and discarded objects—from the in-between spaces, the hidden corners, and 'wild space' left in limbo next to everyday urban environs. Open-ended in their narrative, Hardy's installations allow the viewer to experience the space for themselves, interpreting and defining their own participatory presence.Read More
Hardy studied at the Cheltenham School of Fine Art, graduating with a degree in painting in 1993. She then went on to complete a master's degree in photography at the Royal College of Art, London, in 2000, before receiving two consecutive British Council Travel Awards in 2003 and 2004. These were quickly followed by various group exhibitions, and her first solo exhibition, Laing Solo, at Laing Art Gallery, Newcastle, in 2004.
In the early-to-mid 2000s Hardy's works were typified by photographic images such as Drift (2004) and Cipher (2007). For these images, she created and then photographed surreal interior sets devoid of people but populated by a myriad of items arranged in meticulous detail. Destroying the set, the two-dimensional image became the only frame of reference with which the viewer can relate to the artist's created world. However, in Two Joined Fields – Field (/) and Field (decagon) (2013) at Maureen Paley, the artist presented for the first time physically accessible, three-dimensional installations where the viewer could place themselves in the created environment. With these shows, Hardy began putting more emphasis on physical materials, creating abstract fields of objects in colourful and Minimalist settings. These freestanding, leaning, and suspended objects are accompanied by soundscapes with changing light, wind, and—in her Live in the Studio residency (2014) for the Modern Art Oxford performance residency—physical actions of performers.
Over most of the past two decades Hardy's work has been shown in solo and group exhibitions across the United Kingdom and Europe, with select appearances in the United States, Japan, and Australia also. Her works feature in permanent public collections such as Leeds Art Gallery, Tel Aviv Museum of Art, and the Victoria & Albert Museum, London.
In 2019 Hardy made a site-specific public art installation titled The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light for the Tate Britain Winter Commission. It was the third iteration of the Commission for the façade of the esteemed London institution, preceded by works from Alan Kane and Monster Chetwynd. Reflecting descriptions of the winter solstice found in the Pagan tradition, Hardy's title alludes to the mystical past of the Thames site where the Tate was built; it also speaks of hope amidst today's dark political climate. Treating the Tate Britain building like a found object, she adorned its grand, temple-like entrance with tangled fairy lights and tattered and seemingly weathered white banners, while a cascade of objects—like the detritus one finds at the bottom of urban waterways—made its way down the steps. Accompanying the sculptural elements was a dramatic soundscape of assorted natural noises from weather and animal life recorded on and around the Thames. Placing Tate Britain somewhere between a dystopian future and its prehistoric past, the artist took her strange surreal worlds outside.
Biography by Michael Irwin | Ocula | 2020
This November, Modern Art Oxford presents FIELD, an exhibition of major new work by acclaimed British artist Anne Hardy. The artist creates environments which incorporate sculptural installation, photography and audio. Her installation at Modern Art Oxford runs from 7 November 2015 until 10 January 2016.