The Studio At 4 a.m.

18 January – 18 July 2020

Curated by Anne Ryan for Hastings Contemporary, The Studio at 4 a.m. showcased work by eight exciting contemporary artists: Anna Brass, Frances Burden, Andrew Child, Freya Guest, Xiao-Yang Li, Aimee Parrott, Ross Taylor and Rebecca Truscott-Elves.

For the title of this exhibition Ryan was inspired by Alberto Giacometti’s The Palace at 4 a.m., a small wooden sculpture made in 1932. The sculpture depicts an encounter between a woman, a bird and a spinal column. Giacometti’s sculpture is a classic example of early 20th Century Surrealism both stylistically and in its exploration of themes relating to obsession and dream-like states.

Photos © Lens & Pixel.

Ryan explains: ‘There are eight people in my curated exhibition, and I’ve selected them for their passion and the sense of joy in their work, which I’m really excited to show. Each artist hand-builds and crafts their work using a process of intense, joyful and prolonged making to push themselves into a deep, but at the same time ‘switched off’ state of mind where their best work gets done.’

There are lots of terms for the intensely focused creative state of mind: flow, autopilot, stream of consciousness, the zone. It is generally described by psychologists as being immersed in a state of deep focus, so fully involved and absorbed by an activity that all sense of space and time is lost. This is the metaphorical 4 a.m. of ‘deep-making’ that the artists in this exhibition attain in their thinking-through-making approach to their work.


Cover image: Aimée Parrott Hogback, monotype, fabric dye and wool on calico with velvet, 2019 © The Artist. Top left: Frances Burden, Ten Colour Fleck, Bau and Modern Brooches, all 2019, mixed media embroidery and cardboard © The Artist. Top centre: Rebecca Truscott-Elves Trophy, 2019, glazed stoneware, oil bar © The Artist. Top right: Xiao-Yang Li, Untitled, gouache, ink and watercolour on paper 2019 © The Artist.