Monday, 26 December 2011

Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2011: In the presence

Verdict: Go see it
Where: Institute of Contemporary Arts, Westminster
When: 23 November 201115 January 2012

What is it?  An exhibition of works of contemporary art from 40 recent graduates from UK art schools.  This is regular feature held at the ICA (as far as I can tell anyway, as it was there last year).

My opinion:  With emerging talents there is always going to be a certain degree of hit and miss – though probably no more so than you’d expect with any modern art exhibition.  My view is that this year’s crop is more promising that last year’s; it has more inventive artworks and a greater number of pieces that I would recommend.

Proving that the classic medium of painting hasn’t been exhausted is Anna Ilsley with her impressionistic pieces that mix the enchanting with the macabre – a melting pot of Cezanne, John Martin and Bosch’s styles that sounds like it shouldn’t work, but does (pictured below).

I’ve always been a sucker for an imaginative use of colour (blame Matisse), and Marie Angeletti’s photographs bring an almost festive touch to photography – ‘winter’s egg’ being particularly vivid.

The medium that shines the most at this exhibit is video, ranging from the humorous to the inventive:

  • Hyun Woo Lee’s video of a rhythmic pulsating sprinkler watering a football field with the words ‘I hate this job’ appearing in sequence on screen, made me smile.
  • While Savinder Bual’s stop motion images of a train coming towards the viewer delivers a ‘rabbit in the headlights’ moment as you try to understand why the images don’t look right.
  • George Petrou’s video of a face split in half revealing crystalline insides is not exploring anything new – the theme of something magical underneath the skin has been done to death but there is something mesmeric about the video that draws you in.

Judging by this exhibit, the future of British art has a solid foundation to build on, let’s hope these artists get the publicity that they deserve.

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