Hospital Rooms

Digital Art School

22 August – 10 September 2024

London

About

In partnership with Hospital Rooms, ‘Digital Art School’ is a new exhibition that will transform Hauser & Wirth London’s North Gallery this summer. The final project in our three-year partnership with the arts and mental health charity, the exhibition is a physical manifestation of their Digital Art School initiative. The program brings artist-led digital workshops and free art materials to every NHS inpatient mental health site in England. The exhibition will recreate the Digital Art School format in the gallery, delivering live in-house creative sessions hosted by artists such as Abbas Zahedi, Shepherd Manyika and Eileen Cooper RA, as well as beautifully shot art activities projected in cinematic style onto the walls of the gallery hosted by artists and designers including Giles Deacon, Sutapa Biswas and Sarah Dwyer. 

Visitors will be invited to spend time making artwork of their own in the space, using free art materials provided in the gallery or participating through handheld digital devices and in print. The exhibition offers a chance for visitors to experience the various gatherings that are taking place in mental health hospitals across England and to contribute to the charity’s investigations and experimentations into new models and methods of humanizing mental health spaces. Artworks created by visitors during the sessions will be installed on the walls throughout the exhibition.

The floor of the gallery space will be covered with an adaptation of Nengi Omuku’s artwork created for Hellesdon Hospital in Norfolk, UK, depicting a clear blue sky that people will be able to walk, sit and create on. Hot air balloons featured in the Hellesdon artwork will be transformed into bean bags for the public to sit on and draw, and will later be installed in Hellesdon Hospital.

The exhibition will culminate in an auction hosted in partnership with Bonhams on 11 September 2024, showcasing works donated by artists across the UK, which will be shown in the gallery throughout the duration of the exhibition. The auction will feature works by Do Ho Suh, Sutapa Biswas, Peter Liversidge and many more.

The ‘Digital Art School’ exhibition is a partnership between Hospital Rooms, Hauser & Wirth and Bonhams, supported by Gallagher Re and Gallery Circle members Edel Assanti, Ginny on Frederick, Hauser & Wirth and TJ Boulting.

About Hospital Rooms
Hospital Rooms work to benefit people with Severe Mental Illness (SMI) diagnoses, commissioning leading artists such as Hurvin Anderson, Julian Opie, Sonia Boyce, Anish Kapoor and Chantal Joffe to transform in-patient units and secure wards, where opportunities to experience and participate in art are significantly reduced. The charity also work in mother and baby, out-patient and young people’s units, recognizing both the broad range of people whose lives are touched by mental illness, and the transformative potential of creative programs and vibrant care environments—for patients, their loved ones and staff.

The organization was founded when a friend of artist Tim Shaw and curator Niamh White was sectioned and admitted to a NHS mental health hospital. On visiting her, they were shocked to find the hospital environment was cold and clinical at a time when she was so vulnerable. Having both worked in the arts for 10 years, Shaw and White felt they had the skills and community to be able to transform these spaces with unique and site specific artworks. Hospital Rooms envisions a new world where abundant and meaningful creative opportunities are readily accessible to people with severe and enduring mental health diagnoses, and where mental health hospital environments are inventive cultural spaces offering solace, comfort and dignity. Since 2016, Hospital Rooms has undertaken a number of acclaimed projects, completed in some of the most challenging mental health settings. A roster of artists is carefully selected for each Hospital Rooms’ project according to the needs of each community.

Image: Susie Hamilton, Fiery Pegasus (detail), 2022 © Hospital Rooms. Courtesy the artist and Hospital Rooms. Photo: Tim Bowditch

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