The must-see piece at the 2019 Venice Biennale — an indoor beach filled with carefree vacationers performing arias warning of ecological disasters — is coming to London. Work, Sun & Sea (Marina), which won the Golden Lion for Lithuania, will be staged next summer (June 23 – July 10) at the Albany arts center in Deptford, South London, as part of Lewisham’s year as London Borough of Culture.
The work consists of an ‘opera performance’ in which day-trippers stretch out on a beach; the piece appears frothy but darkens with a barbed message to humanity, warning of the effects of climate change.
In Venice, spectators became voyeurs, looking down from balconies on the sandy stage in the Arsenale, where performers dressed in bathing suits and were surrounded by seaside paraphernalia (lunch boxes, Sudoku, coloring books) casually sprawled out on their towels and lounge chairs.
The performance has toured several locations since its 2019 Venice performance, including Berlin and Brooklyn. In London, the installation will “transform Albany headquarters with 13 vocalists and ten tons of sand,” said a spokeswoman for the Greater London Authority (GLA), which supports the cultural festival for a year.
Meanwhile, artist Dryden Goodwin revisits his 2012 work To breathe— who had his son inhale and exhale — for the Lewisham culture event. The new public artwork pays tribute to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, whose exposure to air pollution contributed to her death at age nine.
“This new work will explicitly address the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the growing fight for climate justice and the strength of the collective,” the GLA says. “Five participants from local activist groups, including Choked Up, Mums for Lungs and the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, will have the artist draw and record as they ‘fight to breathe’.”