Apocalyptic beach performance that took top Venice Biennale prize is coming to London

Sun & Sea (Marina) will be staged next summer at the Albany arts centre in Deptford as part of Lewisham’s year as London Borough of Culture

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The award-winning Sun & Sea (Marina) performance is coming to London Installation view at the 58th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, 2019 © Andrej Vasilenko

The award-winning Sun & Sea (Marina) performance is coming to London Installation view at the 58th International Art Exhibition – la Biennale di Venezia, 2019 © Andrej Vasilenko

The must-see piece at the 2019 Venice Biennale—an indoor beach filled with carefree holidaymakers performing arias warning of ecological disaster—is coming to London. The work, Sun & Sea (Marina), which won the Golden Lion for Lithuania, will be staged next summer (23 June-10 July) at the Albany arts centre in Deptford, south London, as part of Lewisham’s year as the London Borough of Culture.

The work consists of an “opera-performance” showing day-trippers sprawled across a beach; the piece seems frothy but becomes darker with a barbed message for humanity, warning of the consequences of climate change. 

In Venice, audience members became voyeurs, gazing down from balconies at the sandy stage set in the Arsenale, where performers dressed in bathing suits and were surrounded by seaside paraphernalia (lunch boxes, Sudoku, colouring books) casually sprawled on their towels and sun loungers.

The performance has toured to several locations since its showing in Venice in 2019, including Berlin and Brooklyn. In London, the installation “will transform the Albany main house with 13 vocalists and ten tons of sand”, says a spokeswoman for the Greater London Authority (GLA), which is backing the year-long culture festival.

Meanwhile, artist Dryden Goodwin revisits his 2012 work Breathe—which showed his son inhaling and exhaling—for the Lewisham culture event. The new public art piece pays tribute to Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah whose exposure to air pollution contributed to her death at the age of nine. 

“This new work will relate explicitly to the death of Ella Adoo-Kissi-Debrah, the growing battle for climate justice and the power of the collective,” says the GLA. “Five participants from local activist groups including Choked Up, Mums for Lungs and the Ella Roberta Family Foundation, will sit for the artist to be drawn and recorded as they ‘fight to breathe’.”

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