Commissioned by the Hayward Gallery, London, UK
Fluorescent live-edge Plexiglas, aluminium Unistrut, pine wood.
4m(h) x 5m(d) x 22m(l) Depth dimensions vary across the work.
The Hop connects the urban landscape of the South Bank to the rural hop gardens of Kent with a vibrant, interactive pavilion. Through its materiality the work creates brilliant light reflections and projects a spectrum of colours onto the Hayward’s iconic Brutalist architecture.
The Hop is inspired by the history of thousands of working-class families from Lambeth bringing in the hop harvest – or ‘going hopping’ – which was viewed by some as a ‘working holiday’. Every year until the 1960s, these Londoners escaped the pollution of the city for the green hop gardens of Kent.
The Hop echoes the geometry of Kent’s unique hop growing structures designed to expose the crop to the maximum amount of sunlight. The work reaches outwards and upwards, evoking a gathering of people with outstretched arms and considers the physical and spiritual work needed to grow something, whether a crop or a community.
The Hop reflects my life. I grew up in the Kentish countryside and have spent all my adult years in Bermondsey where I first heard the ‘hopping’ stories from neighbours. The work also speaks to the site of the post-war Festival of Britain with its creative, futuristic pavilions – spaces for both gathering and contemplation.
An exciting programme of commissioned poetry, sound art and dance pieces are being created in response to The Hop. An ‘In Conversation’ event with myself and Director of Hayward Gallery, Ralph Rugoff, will take place on 21 September.
All images: Thierry Bal, 2022