Anthea Hamilton and Loewe creative director Jonathan Anderson looked to the different varieties of squash and pumpkins when designing the costumes for an immersive installation at London’s Tate Britain.
The installation has been created by Hamilton for the annual Tate Britain Commission, which invites contemporary British artists to come up with an artwork in response to the building’s Duveen Galleries. Each day, the show focuses on a single character, who is dressed in one of seven colorful costumes inspired by the colors and shapes of varieties of squash or pumpkin. The costumes feature voluminous sleeves, bold patterns and squash-shaped headwear.
Materials such as hand-painted leather and printed silk crepon were used to create the costumes’ organic textures, while references to 1970s clothing can be seen in the shape of some of the silhouettes. Each day, performers select a costume that informs and reflects their individual presentation of the character as they move around the space, which has been transformed through the use of white tiles.
Laid in a grid, the tiles span the length of the Duveens, encasing a series of large structures that serve as podiums for a number works of art. The artworks, taken from Tate’s collection, were chosen by Hamilton for their organic forms and colors.
For inspiration, Hamilton looked to the work of early 20th-century French writer and dramatist Antonin Artaud, and his call for the “physical knowledge of images”. With Squash, Hamilton hopes to examine the concept of a bodily response to an idea or an image.
Through the tiles, structures, sculptures and costumes, the performer explores their own interpretation of the image, inviting the viewer to imagine its history and intention.