Step inside Sarabande Foundation’s dreamy summer exhibition

Sarabande Foundation has created a house and lush garden at its London studio for its summer exhibition, ‘Sum’

Sarabande Summer Group Show promotional image showing fantastical house and garden
An artwork by Zongbo Xiang promotes the Sarabande Summer Group Show, ‘SUM’
(Image credit: Sarabande Foundation)

Sarabande Foundation’s annual summer group show this year doubles as a pastoral paradise, with 11 contemporary artists exhibiting their work in Sarabande’s London studios, as the culmination of their residencies there

Works in the exhibition, titled ‘Sum’, are showcased in a temporary installation, with a white house and lush garden inviting artists to engage with domestic and bucolic themes. ‘For the past year, Sarabande has been home to this remarkable group of artists,’ Trino Verkade, director of Sarabande Foundation says. ‘They have collaborated and shared ideas throughout, pushing boundaries and developing their individual crafts. “SUM” shows how significantly their practices have grown during their time spent with us and with each other. We are delighted to have given them the space, support and mentoring they needed to fulfil their visions and will continue to support them as they move on to the next stage in their career.’

‘SUM’, The Sarabande Summer Group Show 2023

Colourful artwork by Jia Xi Li, part of Sarabande Summer Group Show

Lookout, Jia Xi Li

(Image credit: Sarabande Foundation)

Works present a criss-cross of cultural references and draw from different methodologies, from Jia Xi Li’s woven entrance greeting visitors to the house, to wearable crows brought to life by Isabel Castro Jung. 

In the garden, animals drawn and painted by Robert Cooper join a digital well by Zongbo Jiang, a table with a woven top of hair and leather by Anouska Samms, and a fountain by Urte Janus, designed to slowly erode from the acid inside. Tombstones by Taryn O’Reilly and paintings by Fuchsia are a traditional foil for contemporary pieces inside, from Kasia Wozniak’s wet plate photographs to Shirin Fathi’s photo work and Laila Tara H’s handpainted bed, paying tribute to the defiance of Iranian women.

Woman in crow mask, Isabel Castro Jung artwork, part of Sarabande Summer Group Show

Crow from Covijo-99, Isabel Castro Jung

(Image credit: Sarabande Foundation)

‘Speaking to industry veterans forces you to think beyond yourself, beyond your practice,’ says Laila Tara H of the emphasis on communal creativity at Sarabande. ‘My own practice is solitary, hours on end seated quietly painting. Sarabande is a chatty place where people step in for quick visits and questions, it’s communal. There is immense release in that. And with “SUM”, we see what can come of both time in our studios and time in a shared space – a sum of those 11 individuals and a single experience.’

Artwork by Robert Cooper

Cybersex, Robert Cooper 

(Image credit: Sarabande Foundation)

Adds Zongbo Jiang: ‘Having a studio at Sarabande has given me the opportunity to meet a wealth of interesting people all of whom have inspired me and helped me refine and focus my practice. The support and security I have experienced from being a part of Sarabande has been invaluable as an artist and as a non-native English speaker.’

Painting by Robert Cooper, part of Sarabande Summer Group Show, SUM

Ryder, Robert Cooper

(Image credit: Sarabande Foundation)

Sarabande Summer Group show, exhibition view

‘SUM’ exhibition view

(Image credit: Sarabande Foundation)

Hannah Silver is the Art, Culture, Watches & Jewellery Editor of Wallpaper*. Since joining in 2019, she has overseen offbeat design trends and in-depth profiles, and written extensively across the worlds of culture and luxury. She enjoys meeting artists and designers, viewing exhibitions and conducting interviews on her frequent travels.