Holly Hendry - 'Invertebrate' - for Bexhill

Launching on 29 May 2021, artist Holly Hendry is creating a new outdoor artwork, 'Invertebrate', for Bexhill-on-Sea, working with the De La Warr Pavilion

‘Invertebrate’ is a giant composite form that has wormed its way around the outside of De La Warr Pavilion, stretching from the seafront lawn to the first floor balcony and the roof; while inside an accompanying exhibition by Hendry titled ‘Indifferent Deep’ shows the after-effects of the invertebrate’s actions, the gallery walls apparently munched and excavated.

The worm’s anatomy joins together different materials that resonate with the Bexhill pavilion’s seaside location. Sandbags made out of boating canvas, wrinkly and filled with pale local sand, connect with segments made using the casting techniques used to create tetrapod sea defences.

These join onto wobbly metal ducting and sections in brick, the contrasting materiality of each segment conveying corporality and vulnerability to the elements. Hendry’s invertebrate form is a metaphor for precarity and change. It suggests hydrological functions both small and large — the transition of stone to sand and sand to glass, for instance — and notions of decomposition and re-emulsification essential to organic renewal.

In successfully invading the De La Warr Pavilion, Hendry’s invertebrate reimagines the iconic modernist building as a porous body. Her inspiration comes from her fascination with borders: “Making an artwork for Waterfronts, for me, is a consideration of edges,” Hendry has explained. “This deals with ideas of above and below, inside and outside, on the land, in the sea or under the ground. Edges seem to be definitive, a beginning or an end, a perimeter of sorts, and a line that highlights contested notions of ownership and free movement.

“Strange things have been revealing themselves in Bexhill-on-Sea, and further afield, like the wreck of the Amsterdam on Bulverhythe beach, dinosaur fossils in the Bexhill brickworks and environmental effects of our own waste materials. To make an artwork for Waterfronts is to consider our horizontal or flat perspectives to think about things more deeply than the surface world.”

Holly Hendry makes sculptures that look at the insides, backs and edges of things. The material specificity, shifting scales and unusual positioning of her works encourage visitors to consider sculpture in dialogue with their apparent and hidden surroundings, considering hollow spaces and undersides.

Holly Hendry was born in 1990 in London, where she continues to live and work. She gained her BA Fine Art at The Slade School of Fine Art (2013) and her MA Sculpture at the Royal College of Art (2016). Recent solo exhibitions include: Stephen Friedman Gallery for Frieze London (2020), Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2019), Frutta Rome (2018-2019); and major group shows include the Biennale de Lyon (2019) and Liverpool Biennial (2018).

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