Magazine: Issue 20
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Review: Camberwell Degree Show 2013
REVIEW: CAMBERWELL BA DEGREE SHOW 2013 It’s that time of year again! Across London sleep deprived art students have been frantically sanding, painting and welding their final shows together, and it’s a big deal, as curators and gallerists take this opportunity to poach and represent new talent from this pool of emerging artists. The finalists this year have not taken this task lightly, across the board technical skill and inventiveness has met conceptual weight, and the shows have not disappointed. After visits to around 6 degree shows, and probably about 500 + artists later, it was Camberwell’s exhibition that nabbed it for me. Testament to the shows quality, during my visit I went back a second time to take in certain works (and it’s definitely not because I was lost in Camberwell’s hallowed halls). It was clear Camberwell students are encouraged not to adhere too strictly to the traditional confides of their chosen disciplines. Graphics spilled into sculpture, drawing into sound, photography into installation. It was almost futile separating the disciplines to some degree (show), but many of the exhibiting artists clearly had reacted well to this approach. Quite stark too was the tongue in cheek tone of the exhibition as a whole, graduate shows have a tendency to take themselves too seriously (understandably straining under the weight of expectation), but this lightness of touch served them well. Wrestling with a weighty subject with humour (a very British device) was Tina Emenyeonu, her ‘LOST: BLACK WOMAN’ posters, riddled with stereotypes to help identify her, littered the campus pinboards and the surrounding area, the artist later telling me they’d have to be replenished daily as they were ripped down. The project, along with an interview sound piece with her (Jewish) husband addresses the misrepresentation of black people in the media. The conversation gets quite heated and Emenyeonu makes some strong arguments that are readily ripped apart by the artist’s husband (who also happens to be a stand-up comedian) who at one point proclaims “Well, did you see any eskimoes in the show?”. It makes for a thought provoking listen. Nick Greenbank The graphics floor was also strong, again, with a refreshing dash of humour seeping through the risographs. For Nick Greenbank this took the form of underwhelming news billboards with a sensationalist bent, urging us to question untrustworthy news sources. Samuel McWilliam also delves into the increasing blur between credence and fantasy in relation to the natural world, taking the curios of zoos and museums as a spring board; McWilliam’s mini worlds lie somewhere between theatrical set and science book cross section to subtly arresting effect. Camberwell UAL Degree show 2013 – Installation view (Sculpture) The sculpture room was a particular highlight. Being hurled abuse at by Baywatch babes (Jessica Juganaikloo), and walking through a deserted crack den, somehow worked alongside some crisp minimalism very well. Daisy Logan’s ‘Objects of Delight’ succinctly satirise a trend in sculpture for the big and awe inspiring (sculpture abhors a vacuum apparently) ‘all mouth no trouser works’ by creating an illusion of infinity utilising vapid material presented with museum like manners. The artist also talks of ‘the infinite and unfulfilling nature of escapism’ which can be applied to all culture. View a sculpture floor highlights here. See SLAM’s Motoko Fujita’s Camberwell UAL artist interviews here. By Rachel Price More on the soon to be Camberwell graduates of 2013: Photography Illustration Graphic Design Don’t miss South London’s upcoming MA shows... Goldsmiths MFA show 2013 | Pool Exhibition PV: Thursday 4 July 2013 6pm - 9pm Friday 5 July - Monday 8 July 2013 10am - 7pm except Sunday 7 July 2013 10am - 4pm Wimbledon College of Art | MA Show 2013 Merton Hall Road, London, SW19 3QA Friday 6 September - Thursday 12 September 2013 Camberwell College of Arts | MA Show 2013 45 Peckham Road, London SE5 8UF Thursday 5 September - Thursday 12 September 2013
Spotlight No 1: 38B Gallery
GALLERY SPOTLIGHT 1: 38b Gallery, 38b Peckham Rye, London, SE15 4JR As we welcome 38b as one of South London Art Map’s newest additions, Rachel Price catches up with Eva Rowson on the ins and outs of operating a gallery from your living room…. 38b is an occasional series of exhibitions and events programmed by Luke Drozd and Eva Rowson in their flat at 38b Peckham Rye. 38b started in 2010 out of a desire to create a space for both themselves and artists they admire to show new work and try out ideas, and the most immediate, cheapest way to do this was for Luke and Eva to transform their living room in Peckham into an exhibition space. Some artists have preferred to strip the room of any trace of their inhabitancy and use it as a white walled gallery and others have enjoyed playing with the domesticity of the setting. 38b Gallery continue to host exhibitions at 38b Peckham Rye but as they intend to start programming projects beyond the flat their intentions remain the same - to provide an accessible and uncostly space for artists to experiment and exhibit. ________________________________________ RP: In a difficult climate for galleries, opening up your front room as a gallery space seems like an incredibly smart move. What problems, if any, have you encountered along the way? ER: Neighbours, shoddy doorbells, having to eat and live amongst artworks. RP: You began your programme in 2010, are there any projects or exhibitions that have particularly stuck in your mind? Perhaps that utilised the space / context well? ER: All of the artists we’ve worked with have used the space in a different way - either clearing out all our belongings so it’s clear space or playing with its domestic nature and inserting their work into the fabric of the room. I really like this flexibility as it creates quite a different environment each time. We’ve had a break from doing any projects in the flat for a year so we’re now looking forward to starting again with the next exhibition from Nous Vous opening on 28 June. In particular, Jennifer Bailey in her show New Girls in 2011 wanted to keep it very much as a living room to imply associations between the female forms in her photographs and hand-sculpted ceramic vessels and our ornaments and furniture. Elements from this show were included in the 2012 New Contemporaries so it felt very different then seeing it in a white-walled gallery setting. Jennifer Bailey - New Girls, November 2011, Installation view I think using our flat often means that things can be a bit more playful or less formalised than if in a gallery. For example, in 2010 Patrick Coyle and Rita Evans brought together two of their individual performances to create a slightly bonkers but great one-night collaboration which included Irn-Bru dripping onto a drum and a re-staging of one of Patrick’s performances with an intimate, drunken audience of friends. Patrick Coyle - Alphabetes, from A Very Special Episode, September, 2010 Space is often an interesting feature to play with in the flat. We managed to fit work from 28 artists in the Wife Drawing exhibition by giving them specific instructions to produce A4-sized work. Wife Drawing: A showcase of contemporary drawing in a domestic space, October 2010 RP: If you could ask any one artist to show in your space, who would it be and why? ER: I don’t think we really have a wish list. 38b operates in quite a modest way - we just like sharing work and ideas with friends and artists who have a similar approach. If someone wants to try something out I like being a part of making that happen. RP: There are a couple of very successful galleries operating in south London using this ‘home as a gallery’ format, most notably Danielle Arnaud and The Agency. What do you know about these spaces and have they helped inform your decision in any way? ER: I think there’s a long history of artists exhibiting in their homes out of convenience or not having any money - that’s why we started! I’ve recently been interested in Ekaterina Degot’s accounts of ‘institutions of unofficial art’ in Russia in the 1950s. As much art was banned from the official museums, artists started to exhibit in their apartments which meant there could be a lot more freedom in their approach and a strong bond of camaraderie developed amongst artists. http://cdclv.unlv.edu//archives/nc2/degot_art.html Danielle Arnaud’s gallery was created to ‘encourage artists to develop their practice without the constraints of market or trends’. I like that and I think it resonates with what we’re doing too. Another good space operating out of a home is Tamsin Clark’s Furnished Space in Camberwell: http://furnished-space.com/index2.html RP: You’re based in Peckham, an area brimming with some very high quality artist run spaces, do you feel this puts extra pressure on you to run a tight programme? ER: I really enjoy being amongst the diverse range of spaces in Peckham - from Hannah Barry Gallery which was in a lofty warehouse on an industrial estate to the more intimate setting of The Sunday Painter - but I think what we’re doing provides artists with a different set of challenges. 38b is somewhere between home-studio-gallery and creates a comfortable setting to try out ideas that might not yet be fully formed. We’re not commercial or funded so the programme can respond to something that’s more than an open studio but can be free of the constraints of a ‘professional’ gallery space. And everyone has art in their homes! So in some ways it feels the most natural place to hold an exhibition. Edward Newton - Others, December 2011 RP: Are there any legal considerations in opening up your home to the public? ER: I’m sure there might be but (touch wood!) visitors have always treated our flat with a certain respect which I think comes from an acknowledgment it’s someone’s personal space. We benefit from the free public liability insurance offered by a-n but we’re not a formal space, we’re a private home - so it often doesn’t feel much different to a just gathering of friends. RP: What would your advice be to anyone considering setting up their own space? ER: I think it’s important not to be overwhelmed by the idea of ‘setting something up’ - sometimes finding the most simple and immediate way to do something means you can have more fun with it. Luke and I both studied in Leeds where there is a real ethic of just getting on and doing it yourself - finding a space anywhere you can to show work easily and cheaply. Sometimes only a handful of people might see the exhibition you’ve put on but that doesn’t really matter to us - there’s always a conversation or an idea which comes from it which makes it worthwhile. RP: What’s next for 38b Gallery? ER: Our next show opens on Friday 28 June with new work from a collective called Nous Vous (www.nousvous.eu). At some point over the summer we’ll have an exhibition of Luke’s recent works (www.lukedrozd.com) and then we’re really pleased to be part of the Art Licks Weekend in October with a new project by Tom Railton conceived specifically for the flat which is going to be great (http://tomrailton.com). Luke Drozd - ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXY etc, June 2010, Installations views. Eva – many thanks and welcome to South London Art Map! Rachel Price
Spotlight No 2: Insitu Project Space
GALLERY SPOTLIGHT 2: Insitu Project Space, 460 New Cross Road, New Cross, SE14 6QB As Insitu Project Space launches in Deptford, we send SLAM’s Tina Emenyeonu to talk curating, fundraising and to weed out some sagely advice for graduating art students with InSitu’s founder Holly Simpson: Please can you tell us about the people that make up InSitu Project Space and their backgrounds? InSitu Project Space is a solo project founded and managed by myself. Having worked at the Royal Albert pub to fund my Masters studies, I was very much aware of the derelict space next door, that sat disused for over 5 years. In fact I had been eyeing it up for quite some time, I just did not have the time or the resources to occupy it sooner. So after completing my studies, I decided it would be the perfect opportunity to put my arts education and exhibitions and gallery management background into establishing a non-profit exhibitions and events space. Are you (and/or collaborators) an artist and if so what is your art background? If not art, what is your background? I don’t see myself as an artist as such, I view myself more as a curator, or creative facilitator. I come from a strong practice and theoretical visual arts background having completed a B.A. Fine Art at Goldsmiths. I have recently returned to Goldsmiths to complete my Masters in Contemporary art Theory. During my undergraduate studies, I found making work increasingly difficult and unsettling and quickly realised that my passion lay in working collaboratively with other artists, to exhibit their work in ways they hadn’t chosen to do so themselves. When I graduated I felt compelled to continue to pursue a curatorial line of enquiry. After a relentless 2 years of interning and funding myself through countless part-time jobs, I slowly began to build up a curatorial portfolio in exhibitions and events, project management and art handling. I worked for Tate, worked as Gallery Manager of the Sassoon Gallery, Curatorial Assistant to the Zabludowicz Collection and Project Assistant to Artwise Curators. I currently work for Zeitgeist Arts Projects in New Cross. Insitu Project Space 2013 What is the aim of this project? My initial aim for InSitu is to create an inclusive and supportive space that invites artists and curators to exhibit interdisciplinary works and host a variety of arts related events. I want to utilise InSitu’s unique glass panelling and exposed location, to encourage artists to engage with its atypical exhibition space and produce site-specific works and projects. After being left abandoned for so long, I want InSitu to be a hive of creative innovation, that seeks to nurture the artistic practices of the local creative community, that is so prominent in the Deptford and New Cross area. InSitu is not a space that asks artists and curators to pay extortionate hire fee costs to exhibit works. It is a non-profit, safe and open space that serves as a platform for creative exploration. InSitu is a testing ground for new ideas and one-off projects, and its curatorial programme is constructed to facilitate works and practices that are in progress. Your Facebook page charts your fundraising efforts, how easy/hard has it been trying to raise money to launch this project and did you have any sponsorship at all? InSitu has been really lucky in the sense of its location. Located next door to a pub, I have been very lucky to work with a supportive business that already has a following. The customers at the Royal Albert are a real creative and open-minded bunch, so they really embraced our fundraising efforts. To get the initial start-up cash, the Royal Albert hosted an epic weeklong fundraiser. This involved an Art Attack pub quiz hosted by myself and a very brave friend, a variety of music nights, themed events, and of course good old-fashioned cake sales. In all, the community was simply fantastic and I managed to raise over £700 to cover paint, electricity, lighting, maintenance and printing costs. At InSitu’s opening, I managed to secure some sponsorship from a small local brewery, ‘By The Horns’ which was great. I am enthusiastic about using local breweries and businesses for private view events. Insitu Project Space, 2013 At what points (if any) in your efforts to bring this project to fruition, were you tempted to give up? Funnily enough, there has not been such a moment. This whole process has been absolutely incredible. I can honestly say that I have enjoyed every minute of it and have tried to take the slightly hairier moments in my stride. Don’t get me wrong; it certainly hasn’t been plain sailing. I was working 60 hour weeks to get InSitu off its feet; it was touch and go to get the electricity and lighting installed in time and I hired a skip that was put in the wrong location and the skip company were refusing to move it. InSitu has already taught me a terrific amount and I am thoroughly enjoying the journey that it’s taking me on. Therefore I will do my utmost to not let these tougher moments get the better of me. What are your top 5 tips for raising money? Ha ha, very good question. Please can you ask this to Hannah Barry or Will Lunn of Sumarria Lunn and let me know their answers. In fact, I have been asking myself the same question. Of course hiring charges, edition sales, open submission exhibitions, fundraising and sponsorship are the obvious choices. Over the next few months I will be brainstorming my options thoroughly with the intention of making the InSitu as sustainable as it possibly can be. I am determined to find a way for it to serve the creative community of Deptford and New Cross for a long time to come. As soon as I find this winning combination, I will let you know. What did you hope that Gaggle Cave would bring to InSitu Project Space? I chose Gaggle to occupy InSitu for its opening exhibition because I have been a fan of theirs for quite some time and I find them a really inspiring group of people. When I heard of their plans to set up a one-off concept shop, I immediately wanted InSitu to facilitate this. After speaking with Gaggle’s manager Deborah Coughlin, her determination was exactly what I was looking for. The irresistible combination of interactive workshops, artists in residency programme, live rehearsals and gigs would give InSitu the opening that it needed and deserved. Through Gaggle’s occupation, InSitu have been a beacon of interaction, creative activity, passion and noise! Gaggle Cave, 2013 If someone wanted to collaborate with you, what qualities would you look for in them? As a curator, you are working very closely with artists, asking questions and making decisions; it is a symbiotic collaboration built entirely on trust. I would compare the curator and artist collaboration to a relationship between two lovers who have never met before. Therefore the qualities that I look for in artists would have to be flexibility and reliability. Working in such an intimate proximity means that both parties must be open to the other, trust needs to be developed and a great deal of communication needs to be had. Preconceptions must be left behind for one to truly embrace and benefit from this unique and special exchange. What kind of visitor comes into InSitu Project Space? A real mix of people is visiting us since we opened 3 weeks ago. Because InSitu is located opposite a bus stop and a stones-throw from New Cross Road, InSitu has attracted the attention of a great deal of passers-by and bus riders. There are the dedicated culture vultures following the SLAM trail, hardcore Gaggle fans seeking to make their latest Gaggle purchase and we have received a great deal of attention from curious art enthusiasts, who have wandered from the Royal Albert with a pint in their hands. Which galleries/projects around the world do you admire? There are countless to be honest, but as London is my home I will begin there. I would say that Vitrine Gallery and Transition Gallery are doing some exciting things. I am a huge admirer of the innovation and gusto of Sumarria Lunn and Hannah Barry and I am often overwhelmed by the generosity and integrity of Ceri Hand. Further afield I would definitely recommend one to visit MACBA in Barcelona Thousands of art students will be graduating from art school this Summer, what are 5 pieces of advice that you would give to them? I was in a café this week speaking to a recent art graduate answering a similar question. There are no simple answers to this but from my own experience I would have to say: - Surround yourself with productive and inspiring people, they are infectious. After graduating you can feel isolated. It is really important to stay connected and have a supportive creative network around you. Slowly build up a supportive structure around you, share ideas, resources and push each other in new directions. It is very rewarding and the only way to make your practice sustainable after education. - Build on your skills set. You must actively seek to keep learning, push yourself and keep up to date with technology. Becoming as independent and resourceful as possible will definitely stand you in good stead. - Internships are a dirty word I know, however they can really benefit you by give you insider knowledge and experience in your chosen industry. You can build on your skills and you can quickly navigate your way across areas of interest. Do lots of research before applying, be selective and only apply to those organisations that hold a vested interest in you. - Go and explore. Actively seek what is out their beyond the perimeters of art school. Visit other graduate shows, project spaces, galleries, in the UK and further afield. Get a real awareness of what other artists are doing, of what you like and what you don’t like. - Be persistent. I am not going to lie; it’s a tough climate out there. There are loads of people working unpaid and many highly qualified people working in low entry jobs. However this economic backdrop can definitely lead to exciting places because you soon realise that there are no rules. Turn frustration and impatience into a positive and don’t lose sight of the bigger picture in the face of a setback or a rejection and be determined, don’t wait around for opportunities to find you, start something yourself. Thanks to Holly Simpson. Tina Emenyeonu
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