In two minds: Eddie Peake and Prem Sahib

Published 25 September 2015

Ahead of their solo shows this autumn, RA Schools alumni and artistic collaborators Eddie Peake and Prem Sahib describe the thought and themes behind each other’s works.

  • Prem Sahib on Eddie Peake

    “Eddie works across disciplines – painting, performance, sculpture, music videos – in a way that doesn’t ever feel self-conscious about being ‘multidisciplinary’. I remember one of his earliest performances from our final year at The Slade. He was collaborating with the artist Sam Hacking; she was dressed in a fox costume and Eddie was in his normal clothes. The performance involved them struggling to swap outfits without getting undressed. It was awkward to watch, but totally captivating – as though one person was emerging from the anonymity of costume, of characterisation, while the other disappeared into it.

    Both Eddie and I are interested in the experience of sexuality and how that plays out in the context of a social group, but I’m always moved by how his work confronts the viewer directly. At the opening of his recent show at Galleria Lorcan O’Neill in Rome, a female performer read a monologue that slipped between gritty Italian slang and a parody of aristocratic English – in and out of comprehension – while performing stereotypically male gestures. She also spoke about her erection. Eddie had managed to communicate something about the way that human subjectivity is multiple – we all contain different genders, languages and characters. It was incredibly powerful.”

    Eddie Peake: The Forever Loop at the Barbican, London, 9 October – 10 January 2016

  • Eddie Peak, Stick To Your Guns

    Eddie Peak, Stick To Your Guns, 2011.

    Courtesy Galleria Lorcan O'Neill. Photo Guy Archard..

  • Eddie Peake on Prem Sahib

    “Prem has always seemed to invest a lot of time, energy and thought into a relatively small number of works. I’ve always been jealous of his ability to create things that are at once minimal and elaborate: immaculate and beautiful, but with dramatic backstories. His aesthetic draws heavily on the environs and interiors of saunas, techno clubs, leather bars and public toilets that might be co-opted for covert gay sex. There is a high-design element to his work, which is subverted by the charged narratives – often personal, autobiographical and sexual – at play.

    DJ and club culture and dance music are part of both of our personal histories and a common inspiration. We collaborate regularly with the artist George Henry Longly for our clubnight, Anal House Meltdown. For the first event, at Vogue Fabrics in London in 2011, Prem and I staged a performance called Darkroom. The audience were in a blacked-out room with a group of men making sounds, who were exposed for a split second by a short blast of light. I think we share an interest in venues where the distinction between public and private can be a bit blurred, and where sex and sexuality can be performed as a form of spectacle.”

    Prem Sahib, at the Institute of Contemporary Art, London, 24 September – 15 November 2015

  • BUMP Club Night, installation view, 10 Aug 2013, by Prem Sahib

    BUMP Club Night, installation view, 10 Aug 2013, by Prem Sahib

    Courtesy the Artist and Southard Reid

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