British painter and sculptor Maggi Hambling will present her first exhibition at Glyndebourne at this year’s festival. Maggi Hambling: Glyndebourne features a new series of diptychs and ink drawings which resonate with the 2022 festival productions, along with a large-scale painting that will hang prominently in the Glyndebourne foyer.
One of Britain’s most significant and controversial artists, Hambling has established a reputation over the last four decades as a singular contemporary force whose work continues to move, seduce and challenge. As with much of the artist’s output, the works for Glyndebourne deal with themes of desire, ecstasy, life, loss and death.
The exhibition will include six new ink drawings, each one selected by Hambling to represent one of this year’s productions, and a series titled Stage Diptychs I-XII which portrays figures in a variety of poses on stage. Using a bold palette of Indian yellows, black, oxblood and white, these paired paintings reflect Hambling’s long-standing interest in performers and the art of performance.
The drawings will be featured in the 2022 Glyndebourne Festival Programme Book and are available to purchase in a signed and numbered limited-edition portfolio, published by Plinth.
Maggi Hambling: Glyndebourne will be presented across a number of locations at the opera house, including the Old Green Room, which is rarely accessible to the public. Constructed in the 1930s, the space features original wood panelling and floorboards and today is used as a rehearsal and entertaining room.
When asked what she is most looking forward to about exhibiting at Glyndebourne, Hambling reveals that it’s being part of a season that excites her most: “The festival happens and then it’s gone. My work will be there for a precise amount of time, and I hope that it can match the intensity of the music, the staging. You’ve got to be brave when you make an opera. And you’ve got to be brave when you make a painting. You have to have no fear.”
The exhibition will be available to view by ticket-holders to the 2022 Glyndebourne Festival, which runs from 21 May-28 August, and by appointment. It follows Hambling’s first major solo show in New York, which opened in April at Marlborough Gallery.
Maggi Hambling is the latest in a long line of artists to collaborate with Glyndebourne. This year marks the 70th anniversary of the festival’s annual programme book. This highly collectable publication features beautifully illustrated, expert articles that explore the operas on stage at that year’s festival.
One of the special features of the programme is its cover art, which over the years has been designed by some of the biggest names in British stage design and contemporary art.
Glyndebourne is set to present Cover to Cover, a new exhibition to mark this special anniversary. original cover art by designers such as Oliver Messel, Emanuele Luzzati and Elizabeth Bury, including a number of artworks that are being exhibited to the public for the first time, will be on display. The exhibition will bring together original covers alongside costumes, photography and archive material.
Also included will be new works by British photographic artist Mark Vessey, who creates cultural portraits by photographing curated collections of vinyl, magazines and books.
He has collaborated with Glyndebourne to create a new limited edition photograph inspired by the history of the Festival Programme Book, titled GLYNDEBOURNE. The work includes a blank space for 2020, the only year when the programme book wasn’t produced since its inception in 1952. Vessey will also present OPERA, a new photographic print of opera vinyl relating to Glyndebourne’s history and repertoire.
Archivist Philip Boot describes the significance of the Glyndebourne Festival Programme Book: “The Glyndebourne Festival Programme Book cover represents the best of theatre design. Stage designers from Maurice Sendak to John Macfarlane to David Hockney and Sue Blane. In more recent years we have seen a shift to contemporary fine artists, with Raqib Shaw’s, Fiona Rae’s and Grayson Perry’s work gracing the cover.
“Some of these artists are making their first steps in their engagement with music and opera, while for others, it plays an integral part of their daily artistic practice. Looking back at the covers from 1952 onwards, they serve not only as a record of changing tastes, but remind us of the quality of work and artistic engagement, both on and off stage, that represents everything we do at Glyndebourne.”
Cover to Cover will be exhibited across two spaces, Gallery 94 and the Archive Gallery.
Completing the exhibition programme for this year is new work by British painter and printmaker Tom Hammick, Glyndebourne’s associate artist for 2021-22. He returns with a series of colourful monotypes made over the last year.
Drawing on the design and stagecraft of the 2022 festival productions, Hammick will explore perennial themes in this work: wonderment for the environment and concern for climate change, love and loss, poetry and music.
Stage Diptych III forms one of a series of 12 new works by Maggi Hambling which will be on display during the 2022 Glyndebourne Festival.