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See, See, Sea, by Steph Huang takes a closer look at the food industry

A new exhibition is coming to the Tate Britain this summer to showcase the work of a London-based Taiwanese artist.

Running from July 12 to January 15, the Millbank gallery will stage Art Now: Steph Huang: See, See, Sea, by Steph Huang. 

Named after the traditional nursery rhyme ‘A Sailor Went to Sea’, the exhibition will highlight the traces left by maritime trade in our everyday lives, prompting viewers to question their relationship with food consumption and the ocean ecosystem.

The multimedia exhibition will include sculpture, sound, found objects and video to reflect the cultural and environmental impact of cycles of production and commerce.

This will be the latest in Tate Britain’s ongoing Art Now series of free exhibitions showcasing emerging talent and the latest developments in contemporary British art.  

For her debut presentation at Tate Britain, Ms Huang will show a new body of work which draws on her ongoing research into the food industry. 

Since 2022, the artist has visited seaside towns and fish markets across the UK to understand the threat that global trade poses to local fishing industries and communities, and the resulting impact on the consumer. 

A new video work See, See, Sea, 2024 showing a small fishing community in Devon diving for scallops, fishing mackerel, weaving lobster and crab pots and trawling, will form the backdrop to a series of hand-blown glass sculptures.

Ms Huang has a playful approach to materials, often choosing mediums for their contradictory qualities to address concerns about food production and waste. 

Sculptures made using food jars, packaging and a crushed supermarket trolley will be scattered across the gallery floor, referencing the general accumulation of waste from food consumerism.

Bronze casts of scallop shells will appear throughout the presentation and delicate casts of figs will be dotted amongst the steel trolley frame. 

The shells reference waste products of the food industry which are rarely seen by the consumer, while the figs are a reminder of produce left to rot on London’s pavements after falling unharvested from urban fruit trees.   

In a world where packaged produce from across the globe is readily available on supermarket shelves, Ms Huang’s work investigates the increasing disconnection between people and food. 

Pictured top: Steph Huang (Picture: Courtesy of the artist)

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