Hannah Sawtell

b. 1971, London, UK. Lives and works in London


Hannah Sawtell
Hannah Sawtell, Swap Meet (Sulphur Mix) Optic, 2011



Hannah Sawtell´s practice encompasses sculpture, sound, video, digital media and performance and centres on a critique of hyper-capitalism. Through her works she engages with particular qualities of images and objects, opening these categories up to contemporary considerations of technology, labour, extraction and excess.

In her Swap Meet Optic series of sculptures, colour-coated steel frames that evoke retail shelving hold toughened glass in specialised fittings. On the surface of the glass translucent fragments of images sourced online dissolve and distort into one another. Scouring the internet for images, Sawtell responds to those that resonate, either in their generic commercial feel or the formal qualities of the ‘liquid’ CGI texture. Editing, layering and splicing them together Sawtell opts to retain glitches and artefacts from the process.

Describing her method as using ‘the screen as a lens’ Sawtell’s work focusses on processes and materials that permeate what she terms the ‘contemporary global arcade'. In contrast to the freely circulating sea of images and forms which she trawls, Sawtell works with local manufacturers to physically produce her work as bespoke pieces, exploring a tension between the vast anonymity of digital space and small-scale manual craft.