Emma Hart makes work that actively confronts us. Her sculptures often jut out from the wall, and physically encroach on the viewer’s personal space. Hart tries to manipulate the viewer, ceramic speech bubbles put words in our mouths, or protruding loud hailers shout in our faces. The power relationship between the artist, the viewer and the work is tested. Hart’s work implicates the audience in acts of visual and verbal violence, making them play out the ups and downs of human relationships. Whether we adhere to habitual modes of behaviour or submit to external pressures Hart explores what pushes us to do things. Translating these forces into sculptural gestures or relationships into a series of visual patterns Hart questions how our bodily actions, even the apparent innocent act of looking, can control others and in what ways we weaponise language to impact on others? Having previously focused on group dynamics and familial relationships, Hart has recently focused on the performance of the self and the role of speech in relation to class and upbringing. As Hart puts it ‘If you come from a working class background and are trying to be some body in this middle class artworld then you are more than likely to also feel split. Split between the world you grew up in, and the opaque artworld you’ve entered. Your speech acts to produce yourself, and probably gives you away.’
Emma Hart lives and works in London. In 2017 she won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women in collaboration with the Whitechapel Gallery. In 2015 she was awarded a Paul Hamlyn Foundation award for Visual Art. In 2022, Hart will realise her first permanent sculpture for the public entrance of the UCL East, Pool Street West building, on Queen Elizabeth Olympic Park.
Recent solo exhibitions include: Banger, The Fruitmarket Gallery, Edinburgh (2018), Mamma Mia! Whitechapel Gallery and the Collezione Maramotti, Italy (2017); Commer- cial Breakz, Frieze Art Fair, London (2017); Love Life with Jonathan Baldock, Peer, London, The Grundy Gallery, Blackpool and De Le Warr Pavilion, Bexhill (2016-7); Giving It All That, Folkestone Triennial (2014); Dirty Looks, Camden Arts Centre (2013). Recent group exhibitions include: Ways of Seeing, Government Art Collection, Leytonstone Library, UK (2019), The Lie of The Land, Milton Keynes Gallery, UK (2019), Further Thoughts on Earthy Materials, Kunsthaus Hamburg, DE (2018); In My Shoes, Arts Coun- cil Touring Exhibition, Yorkshire Sculpture Park, UK (2018); An ear, severed, listens, Chert, Berlin, DE (2017);Sticky Intimacy, Chapter, Cardiff, UK (2016); Only the Lonely, La Galerie CAC Noisy Le Sec, France (2015); Dear Luxembourg, Nosbaum Reding, Luxembourg (2015); Hey I’m Mr.Poetic, Wysing Arts Centre (2014).