Holly Hendry: Invertebrate

29 May 2021–12 Nov 2021


A Waterfronts commission as part of England's Creative Coast.

Holly Hendry makes sculptures that look at the insides, backs and edges of things. The material specificity, shifting scales and unusual positioning of her works encourage visitors to consider sculpture in dialogue with their apparent and hidden surroundings, considering hollow spaces and undersides.

For Waterfronts,  Hendry presents Invertebrate, a giant composite form that will worm its way around the outside of De La Warr Pavilion, stretching from the seafront lawn to the first floor balcony and the roof; while inside an accompanying exhibition by Hendry titled Indifferent Deep will show the after-effects of the invertebrate’s actions, the gallery walls apparently munched and excavated.

The worm’s anatomy joins together different materials that resonate with the Pavilion’s seaside location. Sandbags made out of boating canvas, wrinkly and filled with pale local sand, connect with segments made using the casting techniques used to create tetrapod sea defences. These join onto wobbly metal ducting and sections in brick, the contrasting materiality of each segment  conveying corporality and vulnerability to the elements. Suggesting hydrological functions both small and large — the transition of stone to sand and sand to glass, for instance — and notions of decomposition and re-emulsification essential to organic renewal, Hendry’s invertebrate form is a metaphor for precarity and change.

In successfully invading the De La Warr Pavilion, Hendry’s Invertebrate re-imagines the iconic modernist building as a porous body. Her inspiration comes from her fascination with borders:

“Making an artwork for Waterfronts, for me, is a consideration of edges,” Hendry has explained. “This deals with ideas of above and below, inside and outside, on the land, in the sea or under the ground. Edges seem to be definitive, a beginning or an end, a perimeter of sorts, and a line that highlights contested notions of ownership and free movement. Strange things have been revealing themselves in Bexhill-on-Sea, and further afield, like the wreck of the Amsterdam on Bulverhythe beach, dinosaur fossils in the Bexhill brickworks and environmental effects of our own waste materials. To make an artwork for Waterfronts is to consider our horizontal or flat perspectives to think about things more deeply than the surface world.”

England’s Creative Coast is led by Turner Contemporary and Visit Kent (Go To Places), funded by Arts Council England and Visit England as part of the Cultural Destinations programme and Discover England Fund, with support from the South East Local Enterprise Partnership (SELEP), East Sussex County Council, Kent County Council, Essex County Council, Visit Essex, Southend Borough Council, The Historic Dockyard Chatham and Southeastern.

To read more about Holly Hendry’s experimentation through her artwork of materials and boundaries, click here to read an interview with Millie Walton for Trebuchet magazine.


Holly Hendry: Indifferent Deep and Invertebrate

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