Flat Pack

Emily Speed (1979 - )

red terracotta earthenware

2015 - 2017
  • About the work
    Country: UK
    City: London
    Place: Government Art Collection

    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).
  • Explore
    Materials & Techniques
    ceramic, terracotta, ceramic sculpture
  • Details
    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