EMPATHY HOLE

Bosse & Baum, London (2019)

The works in Empathy Hole were made in 2015-16, after Peake’s work entitled The Keeners, a public dance performance in London Fields and accompanying solo show at Space Studios, London (2015). The work was inspired by the notion of ‘keening’, where professional mourners in Irish and Celtic traditions grieve the losses of others, on their behalf. The Keeners abstracted this tradition, presenting a notion of collective grief in the form of a performance. Losses were collected from the public through an open call inviting submissions of cultural or spiritual losses; for example the loss of social housing to gentrification or the commodification of graffitti. The performance saw dancers reading out these losses and publicly mourning each one in turn.

For Empathy Hole, Peake created paintings and ceramics inspired by the performers’ physicality and empathetic outpourings in The Keeners. The resulting abstracted and ghostly figurative representations capture heartfelt despair and loss of hope while holes and gaping mouths are redolent of caverns or spaces in which emotion can transform itself, and as vessels to aid and support catharsis.

Original performers in The Keeners (2015) :  Charlotte Ashwell, Lizzy Le Quesne, Nikki Tomlinson, Rosalie Wahlfrid, Susanna Recchia