Emma Hart: Mamma Mia at The Whitechapel Gallery 

Emma Hart’s exhibition ‘Mamma Mia’ at the Whitechapel Gallery is an exciting visual representation of patterns relating to psychological behaviour. 

Emma Hart is British artist, born in London, known for involving media in her art which consists of sculptures, installations, videos and performance art. She has received numerous scholarships and awards for her work.

The large installation on exhibit is for the sixth edition of the Max Mara Art Prize for Women. Hart was inspired to create ‘Mamma Mia’’, by her six month stay in three Italian cities: Milan, Todi and Faenza. The artist has used colourful, elaborate props to show patterns in psychological behaviour and visual patterns. 

The room that holds the installation has dim lighting, thus the majority of light in the room comes only from the light emitted by the installation pieces themselves. Sculptures are placed around the room in different positions, either on the floor or hanging from the ceiling. 

The sculptures are shaped like eyes, with red power cables coming-out the back of them, resembling the extraocular muscles and the optic nerves. 

The ‘eye’ sculptures are hollow with patterns inside them representing different thoughts and psychological patterns. Commonly recognised psychological patterns are facial features, music, language, shapes and symbols. The pictures inside the sculptures feature different shapes in bright colours, different symbols, knives, forks and spoons and silhouettes of people. 

In some of the sculptures, there are pictures of people crying with speech bubbles saying, “I”, which symbolises a worldwide pattern of people only worrying about themselves and talking about themselves. The sculptures also have lights inside them shining speech bubble shapes around the room. 

Others show different coloured patterns and shapes that aid the recognition of apophenia, which is the human tendency to see patterns that do not actually exist. An example of apophenia is seeing non existent faces in patterns, this is displayed in the ‘eye’ sculptures in this installation. 

This installation really opens your eyes to different patterns and the ways of human psychological behaviour, in a creative and stimulating way that makes the science behind the art even more enjoyable. 

Mamma Mia is on show at The Whitechapel Gallery until 3rd September 2017.  More information may be found here.

Ennigaldi