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Untitled, 2017 - Helen Marten

about this work

This edition is part of School Prints, a series produced by the Hepworth Wakefield, reviving a groundbreaking scheme set up in the 1940s to supply original, high-quality contemporary art to primary schools.

About this edition, Marten says: “The body and its movement through the various volumes of daily space has long been a starting point for artists through history. In this lithograph, the primary lines construct a huddled group of figures, morphing through one another in a manner that could describe an embrace, but also the metaphoric dissolution of one form into many. This body could be one gender or multiples of a state more flexible and deconstructed than any binary classification.

The amorphous blobs and shapes that surround the central protagonists are both landscapes (approximate trees or plant life) and shifting forms whose semi-legibility joins the figures in a refusal to conform to definite meaning. The surrounding shapes disguise yet more faces, sentences and alphabet forms which provide the landscape with a more surreal grammar – this is a landscape in which fabrications are possible and encouraged. There are painterly marks, splashes and drips which combine in a celebration of texture and the authorial gestures of mark-making.

With its softly pastel palette, the lithograph relies on colours not quite reminiscent of our daily lives. They are neither psychedelic nor magical but plausibly just one junction removed from reality. Perhaps this is the space of memory, of dreams, or surrealist apparition. Who are these figures? What are their relationships to us the viewer and where are we all going?”

about Helen Marten

Helen Marten uses sculpture, screen printing and her own writing to produce installations that are full of references, from the contemporary to the historical, and the everyday to the enigmatic. Her collage-like gatherings of objects and images have a playful intent, creating poetic visual puzzles that seem to invite us into a game or riddle.

Marten encourages us to look very closely at the items she makes and the materials she uses, and to reconsider the images and objects we surround ourselves with in the modern world.

(courtesy of Tate)

Helen Marten’s solo exhibitions include Serpentine Sackler Galleries, London; Hepworth Wakefield; Chisenhale Gallery, London; Palais de Tokyo, Paris; Kunshalle Zurich; and Fridericianum, Kassel. Recent group exhibitions include the 55th Venice Biennale; Lyon Biennale; MoMA PS1, New York; Museion, Bolzano; and Les Abattoirs, Toulouse.

Helen Marten has been awarded the Hepworth Prize for Sculpture and the Turner Prize in 2016, and has previously received the Lafayette Prize in 2011 and the LUMA Foundation Award in 2012.

Helen Marten is represented by the following galleries;
click through to discover more of her work.

König Galerie, Berlin

Sadie Coles HQ, London 

Greene Naftali, New York 

Learn more about this artist

Other works by Helen Marten