Andrew Pierre Hart: Bio-Data Flows and Other Rhythms – A Local Story

15 February – 7 July 2024

Gallery 7, Free

Whitechapel Gallery presents a new commission by London-based artist Andrew Pierre Hart.

Both a visual artist and an electronic-music producer, Hart is interested in exploring relationships between sound and painting. He employs musical techniques such as improvisation, spontaneity and ‘deep listening’ as part of a practice which also encompasses sculpture, mural-making, installation, performance, film and text.

For this commission, Hart has created an ambient environment that features a site-specific mural, a series of six new oil paintings, a bamboo sculpture, a new sound composition and a film shot in the streets around the Whitechapel Gallery area.

The sound piece is played through a speaker system embedded into a seating area so that the bass line can be both heard and felt physically through vibration, offering what Hart describes as ‘binaural and body-responsive sound and atmospherics’.

This composition also forms the soundtrack to the new film titled Free Writers, in which three dancers are shown moving through the spaces of the gallery as well as the streets and bustling market stalls of the nearby Brick Lane and Whitechapel High Street. Images captured in the film make reference to Whitechapel’s longstanding history as a home for migrant and diasporic communities and conveys what the artist describes as ‘the “sites” and sounds of the area: a compound of myriad histories and contemporary life’. He explains:

Whitechapel has long been a multi-cultured and multi-religious area… I am interested in all kinds of empowering stories of people’s struggles and standing for their positions against racism. When we walk along these streets today, we also walk past those histories.

Hart further evokes his experiences of the local area in the six new oil-on-canvas paintings. One work features an older and younger man standing next to a sound system on an imaginary Whitechapel street. The painting embodies the cross-generational exchange and musical intervention within the backdrop of inner-city racial struggles. Other works are more abstract, featuring geometric webs of bright contrasting colours. They reflect Hart’s impressions of Whitechapel through movement and rhythm, while drawing on influences as diverse as the geometrically patterned architecture of the Gurunsi people in Burkina Faso, Nigeria; graphic musical scores; and forms used in digital coding.

Similar abstract shapes feature in a large hand-painted mural that fills one wall of the gallery, which Hart realised with two art students. The work resonates with the large-scale murals and graffiti found in sites around the East End. Placed in front of the mural is a tower-like sculpture made of black bamboo. Bamboo is widely used in Africa for construction projects and as such gives the sense that the mural is still in the process of creation. The provisional form of the structure further resonates with the temporary structures created by Whitechapel’s market traders, whose stalls populate the area. When moving around the sculpture, the vertical stems of bamboo and linear shapes in the painted wall design come together to create a sense of visual and physical rhythm.

The exhibition will also feature three live events, during which the space will be brought to life with dance, electronic music, discussion, screenings and performance.

Andrew Hart: Bio-Data Flows and Other Rhythms – A Local Story will be accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue, featuring contributions by Hart, artist Larry Achiampong, writer Allie Biswas, and the exhibition curators, Gilane Tawadros and Cameron Foote.

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