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About Eddie Peake

Born: 1981, London, UK

Lives and works in London.


2008-9: British School at Rome, Italy
2003-2006: BA Fine Art, Slade School, London

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Eddie Peake

Practice: painting / performance / installation

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 A name on every plugged-in Londoner's lips, Eddie Peake's brash, titillating practice - which includes slogan-emblazoned (mainly) male nudes and spray-painted Smileys with paradoxically vicious sneers - certainly possesses hipster appeal aplenty.

Yet Peake is also robustly entrepreneurial, featuring prominently in many of his own works, whether as can't-miss-my-name signatory or (generally unclothed) subject. And although still an MA student at London's Royal Academy, his profile, and presence, has escalated rapidly. Not simply as an artist and performer, but as curator, collaborator, choreographer and general enabler of all-things-arty.

But how to separate voguish self-promotion from probing artistic enquiry?

A case in point might be Peake's concerns with male sexual identity, treatments of which veer from the obvious (nudity, nudity and more nudity) to the far bolder 2012 performance Touch, featuring naked men engaged in a robustly macho five-a-side-football match.

The almost ingenuous self-evidence of Peake's assertion that "eroticisation and sexualisation has a kind of impact" doesn't in any way undermine such material's undoubted valency as a line of artistic enquiry (or, for that matter, his statement of the fact); but while an investigation of the mechanics of voyeurism can make for truly intriguing art, it also, of course, has a more troubling tendency to generate its own hype.

That said, there's little real doubt that Eddie Peake has enough energy and, indeed, talent, to make his presence felt for some time to come.

Like the ragged holes hacked through chipboard which (thrillingly) serve as features for his acid-graff faces, much of Peake's work packs a genuine visual punch, and even in its exploitation of such obvious territories as narcissism, nudity and old-skool nostalgia, often surprises with a real viscerality.

Added Jan 2012

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