Young, London-based artist Eddie Peake works across a wide range of media, encompassing performance, painting, photography and sculpture. His work is concerned with notions of voyeurism, eroticism, sexuality and gender, as well as the lapses implicit in transitions between verbal and nonverbal language. Peake stages multi-sensory performances – such as Amidst a Sea of Flailing High Heels and Cooking Utensils, his two part performance held at Tate Tanks and London’s Chisenhale Gallery in 2012 – which adopt a variety of cultural motifs and aim to induce a bodily, visceral impact upon the viewer. The artist thinks of his performance works as images which become animated and, in Amidst a Sea of Flailing High Heels and Cooking Utensils, an ensemble of male and female dancers performed to an original live musical composition, adopting poses derived from Renaissance notions of the ideal body, and singing musical refrains extrapolated from pop songs. Through choreographed movement, the dancers’ bodies became both sculptural and sexual objects, playing on the audience’s voyeuristic desire.
For Peake’s recent exhibition Adjective Machine Gun at White Cube in Bermondsey, a structure modelled on the now decommissioned penguin pool at London Zoo, designed by modernist architect Berthold Lubetkin in 1934, acted as an arena for a group of dancers and musicians, whom, alongside Peake, developed a performance throughout the duration of the exhibition. This performance extended outside the confines of the structure into the wider gallery space, containing wall-based neon sculptures of a muscular faun, black and white photographs of a naked couple in choreographed poses, text-based brightly coloured paintings, and abstract sculptures reminiscent of limbs, rendered in concrete and highly polished white plaster. Discussing the exhibition, the first time Peake combined performance and static object works, he explained: “I want to focus on the process of devising a dramatic performance work, and the constant and jolting shift between reality and drama implicit in trying to do that in the context of an art gallery.”
Eddie Peake (b. London, 1981) graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2006, and undertook a residency at the British School at Rome from 2008 to 2009. He is currently completing his Master’s degree at the Royal Academy Schools, London. Recent solo exhibitions include Focal Point Gallery, Southend-On-Sea (2013), White Cube, Bermondsey (2013), Mihai Nicodim Gallery, Los Angeles (2011), Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome (2012), and a two-man exhibition with Prem Sahib at Southard Reid, London (2012). Performances include those at The David Roberts Art Foundation (2012), The Tanks, Tate Modern in conjunction with the Chisenhale Gallery (2012), The Royal Academy of Arts (2012) and Cell Project Space (2012).