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Eddie Peake and the Emperor’s New Clothes

16 October 2015

Introducing Rakewell, Apollo’s wandering eye on the art world. Follow @Rakewelltweets

Much excitement at the Barbican, where hipster artist Eddie Peake’s ‘The Forever Loop’ has opened to acclaim. Described as an ‘energetic and erotic’ work, the installation mixes live performances with video, painting and just about any other format you’d care to name. It’s all very much in keeping with the artist’s regular themes – what you might call ‘peak Peake’. What has really captured the attention of the cognoscenti, though, is Peake’s signature habit of getting his kit off.

Peake has made something of a name for himself for stripping off in the service of art, and rarely misses an opportunity to let it all hang out. The 34-year-old artist features prominently in his own work, often baring all. ‘I walked into this incredible room in Palermo and just had to take my clothes off’, he told Frieze in 2012. However, any suspicions that the artist’s member might be on display gratuitously should be scotched.

The intention, rather, is to ‘convey a kind of confusion and a process of figuring things out’, he explained to Harper’s Bazaar. If it’s confusion he seeks, his recent interview in the London Evening Standard certainly has the Rake scratching his head.

#TheForeverLoop ❤️ s/o 2 #SimoneWells

A photo posted by Eddie Peake (@eddie_peake) on

‘Nudity, it’s no big deal’, he told the Standard’s Lyndsey Winship, ‘people have said that aspect of my work is a cliché. But if you’re saying that then I think you are someone who feels awkward about nudity. I mean… it’s much more of a cliché to wear clothes. Everyone here [at the Barbican’s café] is wearing clothes’.

Cliché or mere practicality? Rakewell knows not. Nonetheless, readers may be relieved to hear that he will not be venturing up to the galleries tonight in the emperor’s new clothes.

Got a story for Rakewell? Email rakewell@apollomag.com.