Artists > Hetain Patel

Hetain Patel

Born in Bolton, UK, Hetain Patel’s practice, spans a number of different media and is often performative in nature. Whilst identity formation has been central to his concerns since the beginning of his career, more recently this idea has been seen through the lens of imitation, in particular through language and physical movement. Increasingly Hetain’s work is populated by characters, both fictional and real, in relation to which the artist juxtaposes himself in moments of elision and dissonance. His work has recently extended from gallery settings to the theatre.

Hetain’s practice, exploring the subtle and often humorous complexities of life, has won a number of awards. Since 2004, his video, photography and live works have been shown internationally to critical acclaim within institutions such as Royal Opera House, London; Frieze Art Fair, London; Tate Britain, London; Bodhi Art, New York; Sydney Festival, Australia; the Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China; Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai. He has completed four substantial residencies including 501 Artspace, Chongqing, China and Southbank Centre, London.

C & L Shows

The Other Suit
15 January - 28 February

Hetain Patel | The Other Suit

This new exhibition introduces the artist’s fascination with the mass communicative powers of Hollywood and the entertainment industries. As an avid consumer himself, Patel employs similar tropes in these new works, particularly through the displacement of the widely recognised popular culture icon Spider-Man. From the intimacy of his family home to the online public broadcasting of YouTube, Patel reveals a space where devotion to pop culture and art making are one and the same.

On repeated viewing, the deceptively sleek and fast paced editing, along with Patel’s characteristic humour, give way to darker layers in the artist’s practice in which he demands freedom from the oppressive stereotyping that has been a part of his upbringing. Placing the mainstream figure of Spider-Man quite crudely within the marginalised world of his British Indian identity, he insists on the authenticity of this connection.


In the two channel video installation, The Amazing YouTubers, Patel presents an edited collection of YouTube videos that chart a committed community of teenagers sharing tutorials of making their own costumes, aiming to be movie-accurate to The Amazing Spider-Man films. Alongside this plays a time-lapse of Patel’s own suit making, engaging with the durational element of this activity and identifying with this online community.

Over the past year, Patel has made two Spider-Man costumes. The first, featured in his live performance American Boy (2014, Sadler’s Wells, London), can be seen in the works Baa’s House 1 & 2, where the artist poses for photographs in his Grandmother’s living room in Bolton UK, where he was born. Patel’s sits masked in his first home, squatting in front of family photographs spanning 40 years, next to his Grandmother, the instigator of the family migration from India.

The sculpture, Letter to Peter Parker is the result of four months of Patel hand-writing a thank you letter to the man behind Spider-Man’s mask, Peter Parker. These words, intricately patterned to form the costume are stretched over a cast taken from the artist’s body. In the letter, which repeats many times over, Patel twists Parker’s biography, personal and physical attributes to match his own upbringing and identity. Where Parker puts on the Spider-Man mask to hide his public identity, Patel thanks him for creating a mask that diverts the attention from his primary aim of disguising his skin colour. Where Parker earns an income from taking press photographs of himself crouching as his alter-ego, Patel thanks him for inspiring his own existential practice of self portraiture. The sculpture also pushes Spider-Man’s characteristic crouch into the squatting posture that ties the artist’s family physically to India.

For the multiscreen video installation, The Other Suit, Patel is interested in the traces of pop culture that remain as physical memories in the body. Patel performs a range of male archetypes from Hollywood that have worked their way physically and lyrically into his memory. As with all such influences, they integrate with one another over time, drifting in and out of sync, revealing in this case a foursome of characters who question our right to heritage and belonging. They express it physically and vocally, often violently, but always with the Hollywood sheen of the audio track. The piece is shot in his living room, a place for watching and re-watching. The installation alludes to this space sculpturally, whilst providing gaps through which one will also catch glimpses of the other works, manifestations of these characterisations in other media.

See More

At Home : Part I + Part II
At Home : Part I + Part II
13 January - 3 March

10 August - 22 September


b. 1980

2003    BA Fine Art, The Nottingham Trent University, UK
2000    Diploma Foundation Studies in Art and Design, The University of Salford, UK

Selected Solo Exhibitions:
2015    The Jump, Wood Street Galleries, Pittsburg, USA
2015    The Other Suit, The Agency Gallery, London, UK
2015    The Other Suit, Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, India
2014    Fiesta Transformer, C-Mine, Genk, Belgium
2014    At Home, Pump House Gallery, London, UK
2013    At Home, mac, Birmingham, UK
2012    At Home, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK
2012    Site Specific Commission, John Hansard Gallery, Southampton, UK
2012    At Home, Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, IN
2010    To Dance Like Your Dad, Watermans Arts Centre, London, UK
2010    Sacred Bodies, National Office, Arts Council England, London, UK
2009    To Dance Like Your Dad, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK
2008    Sixteen Classical Beats, Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham, UK
2008    Jhaptaal, Saltburn Artists’ Projects, Saltburn-by- the-sea, UK
2007    Coded Gestures, Usher Gallery, The Collection, Lincoln, UK
2007    Sine Language, City Gallery, Leicester, UK; Djanogly Art Gallery, Nottingham, UK; London Printworks Trust, Brixton, UK; Gallery Oldham, UK
2006    Copy/Paste, Bonington Gallery, Nottingham, UK
2005    Sacred Bodies, Derby Dance Centre, UK; Waterside Arts Centre, Sale, UK
2004    Lagan, Bolton Museum and Art Gallery, UK; 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, UK

Selected Group Exhibitions:
2015-16 Asia Pacific Triennial, Brisbane, Australia
2015      Doug Fishbone’s Leisure Land Golf, 56th Venice Biennale, Italy
2015      SPHERES 7, Galleria Continua, Le Moulin, France
2014      Heaven & Earth, Southbank Centre, London, UK. Part of Darbar Fesitval
2013      SPHERES 6, Galleria Continua, Le Moulin, France
2013      Photoink, Delhi, India
2012      fiVe, Chatterjee & Lal, Mumbai, IN
2012      Indian Highway, Ullens Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China
2010      Frictive Familiarities, Art Kino, Stockholm, Sweden
2010      Ignite, New Delhi, IN
2010      The Authentic Self (screening), Broadway Media Centre, Nottingham, UK
2010      Progress Report, InIVA, Rivington Place, London, UK
2010      No Heroes, Redcat Theatre, Walt Disney, Concert Hall, Los Angeles, USA
2010      Punctum 1, Lakeeren Art Gallery, Mumbai, IN
2009     Wonder What The Others Are Up To?, Gallery OED, Cochin, IN
2009     Pattern Recognition, City Gallery, Leicester, UK
2008     Next We Change Earth, New Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK
2008     Emerging Discourse, Bodhi Art, New York, USA
2008     BJCEM Biennale, Bari, Italy
2008     Pavilion/Photofusion, Photofusion, London, UK
2006     All Our Tomorrows, Kunstraum der Universitaet Lueneburg, Germany
2006     Excess, Angel Row Gallery, Nottingham, UK
2005     Young British Art, The Castle, Cieszyn, Poland
2005     Ueber-Beauty, Web based project curated by Shaheen Merali, http://www.ueber
2004     Lagan (2 person show with Chila Kumari Burman), The Art Exchange, Nottingham, UK

Selected Live Performances:
2016      American Man, Sadler’s Wells, London, UK
2015      American Boy, CODA Festival, Oslo, Norway
2015      iMovie 2.0, National Gallery of Modern Art, Mumbai, India
2014      iMovie 2.0, Extinction Marathon, Serpentine Gallery, London, UK
2014      Let’s Talk About Dis, for Candoco Dance Company, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London, UK and national tour
2014      American Boy, Bush Theatre, London, UK
2014      American Boy, Sadler’s Wells, London and UK national tour
2014      Let’s Talk About Dis, Queen Elizabeth Hall, London and UK national tour
2013      TED Talk, TED Global, Edinburgh, UK
2013      I Wanna Be Like You, Sage Gateshead & Norwich Arts Centre, UK
2013      Be Like Water, National Tour (8 dates), UK
2013      TEN, Théâtre de Gennevilliers, France (French version)
2013      TEN, CCNC, Caen, France (French version)
2012      Me and Me Dad and Me Wife, The Tanks at Tate Modern, London, UK
2012      Be Like Water, Royal Opera House, London, UK
2012      Elephant, Southbank Centre, London, UK
2012      TEN, British Dance Edition, London, UK
2011      TEN, Minto:Live, Sydney Festival, Sydney, Australia
2011      TEN, Silesian Dance Theatre, Poland
2011      TEN, 2nd UK national tour, UK
2011      TEN, British Council’s Edinburgh Showcase 2011, Edinburgh, UK
2010     TEN, First UK national tour, UK
2008     Unpicked & Dismantled, Part of Textile ’07 Biennale, Kaunas, Lithuania
2007     Raga Erhu, LOUD TATE, Tate Britain, London,UK
2006     Migrate, Bristol, UK
2006     Phase, Wallner Gallery, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, UK
2005     Reflected Identity, Wolverhampton Art Gallery, UK

Awards and Residencies:
2014      Arts Council England, Award to make and tour American Boy
2012      Arts Council England, National touring award for At Home exhibition, and Be Like Water live performance
2012      Artist in Residence as part of Alchemy festival, Southbank Centre,  London, UK
2011      Sadlers Wells University, 4 year artist development programme by Sadlers Wells, London – for emerging artists
2010      Arts Council England, Touring award to take TEN on an 18 date national tour
2009      Artist in Residence, 501 Art Space, Chongqing, China
2009      Arts Council England, Research bursary
2009      Artists Taking the Lead, UK (Shortlisted)
2009      Satyajit Ray Short Film Award, UK (Shortlisted)
2008      Nottingham Creative Business of the Year, UK
2007      Pavillion, New commission for exhibition at Photofusion, Brixton, UK
2005-7  Artist in Residence, Lakeside Arts Centre, Nottingham, UK
2004      Decibel Award, Arts Council England- to support 2 years research
2004      Artist in Residence, 20-21 Visual Arts Centre, Scunthorpe, UK

2010- 13             Regional Council Member, Arts Council England, East Midlands, UK
2009 -13            Board Member of Deda, Derby’s Dance Centre, Derby, UK
2007 -present   Visiting Lecturer (Fine Art), The Nottingham Trent University, UK
2003                   BA Hons Fine Art, The Nottingham Trent University, UK
2000                   Diploma Foundation Studies in Art and Design, The University of Salford, UK

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