Invites Focus: Kate Lyddon

Invites Focus: Kate Lyddon
Kate Lyddon, Man Up, 2013 (detail)
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With the launch of the new Invites Vol.2 publication, marking the milestone of 50 exhibitions since 2012, we’re delighted to share some exclusive material from the artist and our archives. Each fortnight we have been focussing on one Invites alumni, giving access to interviews, installation views, and links to recent and upcoming projects. Please check out the Zabludowicz Collection Instagram for some gems from artists’ back-catalogues and some behind-the-scenes work in progress.

Invites Focus: Kate Lyddon, 6 – 19 July 2020

London based Kate Lyddon makes figurative paintings and sculptures that exhibit a sustained investigation into what it means to have and be (woman and) a body. Working across drawing, painting and sculpture, she creates scenes of bodily absurdity and dark humour.

Images of her 2015 Invites show can be seen on the exhibition page, included amongst the myriad dark paintings and sculptures was a specially commissioned text by Alice Butler. This written accompaniment to the show was halfway between essay and narrative. It expounded the fairy-tale feminist references who at Lyddon’s hand figures resist stability. In her world a cast of characters, sometimes cartoon-like and often grotesque, enact a variety of nonsensical actions and poses, alluding to narratives that are just out of reach.

For this Invites Focus Lyddon has revisited the visual references that informed her work then, and continue to today, and has remade the screening she put together with Alice Butler for her Invites Presentation, updating it to reflect the last five years. Now residing on YouTube as a playlist you can access it here and sink in and out of some historical and contemporary views of the world, from pole dancing and playdough to Peggy Lee, via The Animals and the Log Lady.

Lyddon’s approach acknowledges and draws on the messy nature of ‘real life’, which seeps into the enclosed worlds she creates, without ever threatening to undercut their otherworldly strangeness. Rather than communicating a central narrative, she instead proffers images that emerge intuitively from her imagination. Their fascination resides in the way that they convey latent meaning which ranges from the general to the specific, the ugly to the beautiful, and from the age-old to the contemporary.

Since her 2015 exhibition Lyddon, has continued to investigate what she sees as particularly painterly concerns in her work, alongside raising her young daughter. Here we are linking to a few of these shows and including some images from them below – please do scroll down to see some more paintings and sculptures by here Including Oroboros and Putrid Huw, both of which were included in A Splinter in the Sun, a 2016 group exhibition at Narrative Projects featuring Paul Housely, Kate Lyddon and Xiao-yang Li and curated by Tim Stoner. A brilliant short text by Paul Carey Kent was produced for On Drool, her 2016 solo exhibition at Cabin Gallery, London. You can see more works by Lyddon on her website here.

In 2019 she took part in a duo of two-person shows where she revisited earlier works, contrasting them not only with the work of other artists but with her own recent and more graphic paintings as well as her expanding cast of sculptural figures. In August 2019, she and Angela Maasalu exhibited together at the Tallinna Kunstihoone, Tallinn, their work, never shown together before, found a generative space and the publication with texts by the exhibitions curator Tamara Luuk and writer Alice Butler is available to download here. You can also visit their vimeo channel where you can hear Lyddon talk about her artistic beginnings and influences. In October 2019 she and another Invites Alumni, John Summers held a show at London’s Studio 1.1, where Lyddon continued her sculptural experimentation with figuration and the fecundity of symbols and bodily characteristics.Women’, 2019 appears to depict four generations: child, maiden, mother and crone; the child is elevated, almost levitating above a pool of black glitter, the pregnant limbless mother looks up from below and the crone is reduced to just a lined bodyless face on the wall.

Kate Lyddon b. 1979, London. Lives and works in London.

Lyddon holds an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art (2006), a Postgraduate Diploma from The Royal University College of Fine Arts, Stockholm (2005) and a BA in Fine Art from Canterbury Christ Church University (2001). Solo exhibitions include those at Tallinna Kunstihoone, Tallinn, Finland (two-person with Angela Maasalu) (2019); Galerie DYS, Brussels (2010; 2012; 2015 and 2017); Standpoint Gallery (The Mark Tanner Sculpture Award), London (2015) and studio1.1, London (2009; 2012; 2019). Group exhibitions include those at Drawing Room, London (2019); Transition Gallery, London (2017); Tannery Projects, London (2017); Charlie Smith, London (2017); Narrative Projects, London (2016); The Kennington Residency, London (2016); The Contemporary British Painting Prize 2016: The Riverside Gallery, Richmond Museum, London (2016) and Huddersfield Art Gallery, Yorkshire (2017); Bermondsey Project Space, London (2015); The Dot Project, London (2015); East London Painting Prize 2015 Shortlist Exhibition, The Rum Factory, London (2015) and Jerwood Space, London (2014).