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Eddie Peake: The Forever Loop - The Curve, Barbican Centre

Exhibition preview

THIS autumn, London-based artist Eddie Peake is presenting an ambitious web of architectural installations, choreographed performance and video set within the Barbican’s 90-metre long Curve gallery. Entitled Eddie Peake: The Forever Loop, it will be on display from October 9, 2015 to January 10, 2016.

Foregrounding the naked body – both male and female – The Forever Loop presents a solo dancer moving through the space, reciting a monologue written by Peake, alongside a roller skater traversing the gallery.

The continuous live performance in the Curve is set against a backdrop of spatial interventions, including a maze-like architectural structure, a chequer-board dance floor and a vibrantly coloured wall painting that spans the length of the curved wall.

Jane Alison, Head of Visual Arts, Barbican, said:

“I am delighted that Eddie Peake will realise the 24th installation in our acclaimed Curve commission series. Focusing on how bodies move in space – and a follow up to his outstanding Adjective Machine Gun show at White Cube in 2013 – this show will foreground Peake’s ability to combine different media with performance, and will no doubt prove to be an unmissable spectacle.

“This will be the first time that live performance features throughout the duration of a Curve commission, and as such reflects our commitment to groundbreaking cross-arts programming.”

Eddie Peake’s practice intimately connects art with sexuality. Firmly rooted in the language of sculpture, Peake’s work celebrates the body as both a sculptural and sexual object and extends to painting, installation, video and performance.

His work is an often-energetic spectacle in which the absurd and the erotic each find a place, and in which the artist plays a central role. In his performances, Peake plays with idealised notions of the human form, drawing on art historical references from Renaissance and classical sculpture to popular culture. Peake’s work invites the viewer into a complex relationship of desire, sexuality and visual pleasure.

Eddie Peake said: “I want to make a show that uses a loop structure, in terms of both time and the very specific conditions of the Curve gallery space, to convey a narrative in which unrequited desire, jealousy, love – and other real emotions implicit in the experience of being in a relationship with another person – take centre stage.

“I want the show, and its looped structure, to utilise the fact that the curved gallery necessarily cannot be viewed all at once, and in so doing, I’d like the act of viewing to be a narrative element, implicating the viewer as a sort of protagonist.”

While studying at the Royal Academy, Peake staged a naked five-a-side football match in Burlington Gardens, London where the two teams were differentiated only by their socks and trainers. As the work’s title suggests, Touch (2012) addressed the inherent tactility and homoerotic exhibitionism that comes with contact sports. For Peake, the work was ‘a joyous event’, but one that quickly became commonplace as the audience became used to the nudity of the players.

Peake has recently presented the result of a year living in Rome, A Historical Masturbators at the Galleria Lorcan O’Neill in Rome.

Born in London in 1981, Eddie Peake has lived in Jerusalem, Rome and London. Having graduated from the Slade School of Fine Art in 2006, he undertook a residency at the British School at Rome from 2008 to 2009, and in 2013 graduated with a Master’s degree from the Royal Academy Schools, London.

Recent performance projects include The David Roberts Art Foundation (2012), The Tanks, Tate Modern in conjunction with the Chisenhale Gallery (2012), The Royal Academy of Arts (2012), Cell Project Space (2012) and Performa 13 (2013). International solo exhibitions include Galleria Lorcan O’Neill, Rome (2012), Southard Reid, London (2012) (with Prem Sahib), Focal Point Gallery, Southend (2013), White Cube, Sao Paulo (2013) and Peres Projects, Berlin (2014).

Eddie Peake’s Curve exhibition is accompanied by a fully-illustrated publication, including a newly commissioned text by Omar Kholeif, Curator at Whitechapel, and an interview with the artist by Alona Pardo, Barbican Curator, alongside installation views as well images of previous work. The book is part of a publication series by Barbican Art Gallery and Ridinghouse which focuses on the Curve exhibition programme, and launches with a talk with artist Eddie Peake.

Admission: Free.

Opening times: Saturday – Wednesday, 11am–8pm; Thursday and Friday, 11am–9pm; Bank Holidays, 12pm–8pm.

For more information, call 0845 120 7550 or visit

Also at the Barbican: The World of Charles and Ray Eames (in the Barbican Gallery from October 21, 2015 to February 14, 2016).