Maggi Hambling collaborates on new installation at Snape

Maggi Hambling in her Suffolk studio 2017

Maggi Hambling in her Suffolk studio. Her work, a collaboration with sound artist Chris Watson, is currently on display at Snape Maltings - Credit: Luke Walker

Maggi Hambling is concerned about climate change and has unveiled a new collaborative work with sound artist Chris Watson which is currently on display at Snape Maltings.

The work is a response to the continued melting of the polar ice caps.

Maggi first started making work about the melting ice sheets at the poles and confronting the issue of climate change as part of her 2017 Edge exhibition at the Marlborough Fine Art Gallery in London.

Maggi Hambling with one of her large Wall of Water paintings, which forms parts of her new exhibitio

Maggi Hambling with one of her works in her Suffolk studio outside Saxmundham - Credit: Archant

Chris Watson was a founding member of the influential Sheffield based experimental music group Cabaret Voltaire during the late 1970’s.

Since then he has developed a particular and passionate interest in recording the wildlife sounds of animals and habitats from around the world. As a  composer and sound recordist Watson specialises in creating spatial sound installations which feature a strong sense and spirit of place.


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The combined piece is entitled Relic. A statement which accompanies the exhibit says: “Each artist in their own practice responds to the melting of the polar icecaps: Hambling through her series of Edge paintings first shown in 2017, and Watson through his location sound recordings.

"In this collaboration, the audience is confronted with the gradual, man-made disaster through expanded senses of sound and vision.

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“As if on the threshold of a dream, chaos clashes with order, night meets day, primordial forms rise out of the dissolving icecap to confront the visitor with our destruction of the planet.”

Maggi is well known for her wild and tempestuous North Sea paintings, her most recent works have been called The Edge series.

When asked about the title she said: “It is called Edge because I feel we are ‘on the edge’. There is a fragility to our existence – both ours and the planet and these works attempt to address that and strike up a dialogue with whoever is looking at them.”

Maggi is also well known for her public works of sculpture including the Scallop, her tribute to the life and work of Benjamin Britten sited on Aldeburgh beach, the reclining Oscar Wilde statue opposite Charing Cross station and most recently A Sculpture For Mary Wollstonecraft which caused controversy because the figure was nude.

File photo dated 11/11/20 of Maggi Hambling's 'A Sculpture For Mary Wollstonecraft' in Newington Gre

Maggi Hambling's 'A Sculpture For Mary Wollstonecraft' in north London. Hambling has said she was "surprised" by criticism of her sculpture of a naked figure celebrating Mary Wollstonecraft. - Credit: PA

On BBC Radio 4, Maggi Hambling said she was “surprised” by criticism of her silvered bronze sculpture of a naked figure celebrating Mary Wollstonecraft.

She said: “What sort of surprised me was the objection to the naked figure, which as you know was part of the sculpture of Mary Wollstonecraft.

“Part of the objection came from feminists.”

She said the feminists were “denying that they have bodies”, adding: “There has been nude sculpture for time immemorial.”

Hambling said it was “rather irritating” that pictures in the media had focused on the naked figure at the top of the sculpture rather than the artwork as a whole."

File photo dated 14/10/20 of British artist Maggi Hambling who has said she was "surprised" by criti

Artist Maggi Hambling who has said she was "surprised" by criticism of her sculpture of a naked figure celebrating Mary Wollstonecraft. - Credit: PA

Hambling said she thinks “more and more people are liking” the sculpture as time goes on, adding: “I never set out to be controversial, how can you set out to be controversial?

“I mean if the thing is controversial, it does show it’s got a bit of life to it.”

She added that her artwork was prompting people to go out and find out about the life of Mary Wollstonecraft.

Relic sound installation at The Switch Room, Snape Maltings, is open daily until August 31.

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