Siobhán Hapaska

Siobhán Hapaska, snake and apples, 2018, aluminium, artificial snakeskin, fibreglass, acrylic paint, lacquer. Courtesy the artist. Photo: Steve Shrimpton

John Hansard Gallery, part of the University of Southampton, is pleased to present Siobhán Hapaska’s first major UK solo exhibition in almost ten years. This exhibition highlights new and recent sculptural works that have not been seen in the UK before.

Across the sculptures on display, Hapaska introduces a diverse array of materials, including fibreglass, concrete cloth, artificial snakeskin, aluminium, oak, charcoal powder, wax and brass. Each of these materials is loaded with history and multiple readings, and Hapaska combines them in ways that are surprising and disconcerting.

Biomorphic forms in concrete cloth reach towards one another, as if to touch (Love, 2016). Glossy fibreglass apples are constricted by snakeskin-veneered metal channels, ready to burst open at any moment (Snake and Apple, 2018). A sanctuary lamp floods the room with purple light, rotating in a perpetual state of crisis (Earthed, 2018). The build-up of carbon from incomplete combustion prevents giant candles from providing light (Candlewick, 2018).

The various ways in which Hapaska’s sculptural forms interact or connect gives her work a powerful sense of duality – we often see two forms in states of conflict, distress, desire or compassion. At times, her sculptures touch upon different belief systems, ideologies or faiths, but never in a way that is ultimately resolved or redeemed. Through Hapaska’s sculpture we are given an insight into the human condition, with all its flaws and contradictions, tenderness and destructiveness.

This exhibition has been made possible with support from Culture Ireland through their GB18 programme.