About the work
Influenced by Etruscan votive offerings, Flat Pack consists of an arrangement of fired terracotta pieces, each with one end that mimics a woodwork joint used in architecture (such as a dovetail joint) and the other end forming fingers, feet, or hands. In this iteration, Flat Pack is organised according to the footprint of a dance, as displayed at dalla Rosa Gallery, London in 2016–17. More broadly, Flat Pack suggests a community or a system of sorts that can be displayed in otherwise evocative ways.
Terracotta is a recurring feature in Speed’s work, and was a subject of focus during the artist’s Derek Hill Fellowship at the British School at Rome (2014–15). In 2019, she published an anthology reflecting on the material that invited contributors to respond to:
TERRA COTTA as the material that serves to bind the thoughts and ideas together. Terracotta as part of the ground, as a container or vessel... as cladding, as a transformed material, as a colour and as something that is both fragile and strong at the same time.
Beyond terracotta, the themes I have been working around include: architecture, power, the body, skin, façades, cladding, women, communities (of women) consuming, decaying, control, making, building and inhabiting.
About the artist
Born in Chester, Emily Speed studied at Edinburgh College of Art (1997-2001) and Wimbledon College of Art, University of the Arts London (2005-2006). She lives and works in Liverpool. Selected solo exhibitions include Showreel, Milan, Italy (2010); Yorkshire Sculpture Park (2011); Fort Worth Contemporary Arts, Texas (2016); Tate St Ives (2020) and Tate Liverpool (2021). Her work has been included in group shows including: ‘Topophobia’ (Danielle Arnaud Gallery, London; Bluecoat, Liverpool; Spacex, Exeter, 2012); Fabric Spaces, PIANOFABRIEK, Brussels (2015); and ‘Scotland+Venice: The Happenstance’, Architecture Biennale, Venice (2018). In 2013, she was shortlisted for the Northern Art Prize. Residencies include a European Capital of Culture exchange residency with Linz Kultur, Austria (2009); and as Derek Hill Foundation Scholar at the British School at Rome (2014-15).
Emily Speed (1979 - )
- Flat Pack
- 2015 - 2017
- red terracotta earthenware
- heigh: 100 cm; width; 100 cm
- Purchased from the artist March 2021, through the Art XUK project 2020-21
- The artist; from whom purchased by UK Government Art Collection, 17 March 2021
- GAC number