Saturday, 29 May 2010

RCA degree shows 2010

Entrance to RCA Show 2010, photo copyright Margaret Sharrow, 2010
Trying to see all of the RCA Show Two in one afternoon was certainly overambitious. In addition to being chock full of interesting work by numerous departments, Painting and Sculpture were showing in their new buildings south of the Thames at Battersea, while the rest were at Kensington. On weekends the two shows were connected by a free and wonderfully juddery Routemaster bus. There was just so much to see that I should have left a whole day, but I did manage to look carefully at Communication Art & Design, Design Products, Sculpture and Painting, with cursory glances at Animation and Architecture.
Because Sculpture did not have labels by the works, I haven't included any examples from that department, the linking up of information sheets with works being too taxing by early evening, not to say that I didn't really enjoy the upside-down street installation - it was really fantastic! A special award had been given to the person whose show included a partially knocked-down wall as one of his pieces - accompanied by a brochure of interviews with departmental staff and students, in which the buildings manager stressed the importance of students leaving the work spaces as they found them!
There seems to be a split in Painting between those working on traditional problems of surfaces and paint, and others who are broadening the definition of painting to include video, installation and mixed media. I doubt whether this necessarily equates to a social split but it is just an observation of the work. Design Products continues to produce often witty, surprising and original pieces that would often be at home in galleries as much as shops and commercial applications. Communication Art & Design was quite a revelation as the students seem to work across the broadest range of media and forms: installation, illustration, photography, painting, printmaking, book design, video, textiles, interactivity - there seemed to be no limits to the possibilities here and I wonder about the departmental philosophy that is able to foster this, in contrast to other departments at the RCA which seem more specialised.
Images that follow are just some of the things I enjoyed, often in small detail view, and in reverse alphabetical order in an attempt to have a fairer promotion of those who so often get left at the bottom of lists on the basis of their surnames - not one of life's great injustices, but a little annoying occasionally! So here's to all artists Q, R, S, T, U, V, W, X, Y and Z! (Don't worry, in subsequent posts I may put the mid-alphabeters first.)

Avis Underwood, Painting

Avis Underwood, Painting. Soft, gently colourful, almost surrealistic figures in a dreamy state.

Priya Sundram, Communication Art & Design. Video still. Mapping a journey.

Priya Sundram & Ana Viegas, Communication Art & Design. A lovely book about Aleutian Alaskan communities straddling the international date line. I am always a sucker for anything Arctic.

Ji Young Son. Design Products. These movement-sensitive leaves broadcast soothing sounds. I want some in my hallway!

Benjamin Senior, Painting. Pilates in the park becomes a surreal experience.

Benjamin Senior, Painting

Tuesday Nesbitt, Painting

Azusa Murakami, Design Products.

Azusa Murakami, Design Products. A ritualised table for the consumption of fast foods. Utensils include sesame seed picker. The plan includes leaving shoes outside and harvesting fresh herbs from the garden wall, to contribute to slow hamburger consumption.

Kynthia Livaniou, Communication Art & Design (video still). Lovely videos projected on lovely dancers, revideoed, reminiscent of Carlyle Reedy.

Hwang Kim, Design Products. Many people liked work designed to prepare North Koreans for cultural transition to the rest of the world - how to eat pizza, how to do popular music video dances, almost impossible I should think while watched over by portraits of the Dear Leader and the Great Leader, on the wall and on one's lapel.

David Hood, Design Products. Glad to see further development of this walking alternative to the buses - phalanxes of people with square umbrellas and a common destination.

James Harrison, Painting. An assemblage of works on paper.

Kate Groobey, Painting. Thoughts of Bacon and Matisse.

Simon Dara, Communication Art & Design. One of a series of small paintings detailing a private imaginary world.

Heeseon Byun, Painting. She has a lovely way of portraying people in the snowy landscape, which becomes a void emphasising the composition of the figures. This is a small detail.

Laura Bygrave, Painting. Not quite an echo of pop art. I liked it.

Majed Aslam, Painting

Majed Aslam, Painting. An erased photograph. Why didn't I think of that?

All images are installation views and remain copyright the artists.

July 2010

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