This year’s Future Map show was at CSM and seemed much more coherent to me than past years. Despite being a relatively disparate brief- selected works from accross the UAL courses, I think that the fact that they are all very current work really ran through them.
As a student of UAL now myself, I couldn’t help analysing the makeing and focus of the different colleges. For example Connall McAteers’ work Crate was impeccably finished, a real Objét. The workmanship colluded in the illusion the huge box created- the mosaic of different tones took on the appearance of a large wooden crate from a distance. The work of Camille Viérin called Layering Space, in contrast, showed visible signs of making. This detracted from the work for me as a maker, but the actual work was not the revolving perspex strips, rather I think it was the projection of the different colours, which became flattened on the wall.
I liked the sort of regal status this chair gave to the writing, as it resembled the sort of thing I imagine important people would have been transported in.
Glad to see fellow Camberwell student Sam Pullen represented- his work really stood out at a show at the New Gallery in Peckham last year. I covert his paintings, as he balances vibrant colour with real delicacy of application.
Minna Pöllänen brought materiality in it’s distilled form (always my favourite) into the Lethaby Gallery with Ice (Fresh Water), and Air.
Her subtle interventions at the sites she photographs add another dimension to her statement for me. I imagine the volumes depicted by the ‘lumps’ of material in the photos to be roughly equal, yet the solid ice is further tied down, and the bags of air appear to flutter on a string, accenting their physical qualities.
I am always more drawn to works which I feel share similar interests to my own, part of the same discourse I am concerned with. These last 2 images do that:
Esteban Peña Parga made a huge watercolour/ ink work on paper, Santander. His work ‘explores the relationship between climate and humans in relation to our current preoccupation with and understanding of climate change.’ The scale and technical acheivment of this work adds physical weight to the issue, yet the subject reminds me that the forces of nature are unstoppable and continuously shape the earth.
Lastly, this collaboration, “…this depicts you as you should be, and not as you are…” Barthes, really stood out for me, though it provoked much discussion in the bar later. It was placed open to the gallery windows, exposing the smooth inside, like half an egg, or a tennis ball. The outside showed more visible, rougher signs of making, but the craftmanship was visible throughout. It was the writing accompanying it which caused most furore: ‘This work comments on society’s transformation to a pure state of communication, the distance between identity and environment, emphasising this dialectic void and sense of self’. Worryingly I think, this makes perfect sense to me, and I think that as it was made as a collaboration only reinforces what the artists intend to convey. I think of the curve as the shortest distance around a central point. I see the inside as an intimate sharing, the outside rough but more durable. I see the desire to touch (even though it would be discouraged, esp in gallery) and I see all this expressed in materials manipulated industrially, whethere they are natural or not. Possibly the last phrase is a bit Barthes-heavy, but I sometimes wish I could reference current writing like this in my own work…