Morning: talk by visiting artist Sigune Hamann, who gave an overview of her diverse body of work and introduced the ideas for a project that she and Jonathan Kearney are developing with Oxford University. They have been successful in getting some funding to explore links between students at Camberwell College of Arts and the Neuroscience and Experimental Psychology department at Oxford.
A painfully early start for some people, meeting at 08.45 for a morning of group tutorials (and this was going to be a long day not finishing until after 22.00!).
09.00 – Four invited artists lead small group discussions with each student having about 30 mins to present about an aspect of their work. The four artists, Jonny Briggs, Kaori Homma, Gareth Polmeer and Rosie Sherwood are great facilitators/tutors and each group had a diverse mix of 1st & 2nd year students, online and London based.
14.00 – After 4 hours of the tutorials and a short break for lunch it was straight into a lecture titled; ‘Demystifying postmodern obscurity’! Gareth Polmeer (who had earlier been leading one of the group tutorials) was drawing on his own research exploring the German philosopher Hegel and how his ideas about art can be helpful in cutting through the often deliberate obscurity of popular art school ideas and theories. He quoted Nietzsche: ‘Those who know that they are profound strive for clarity. Those who would like to seem profound strive for obscurity.’
16.00 – The day was far from over. After the lecture we walked to 3 local galleries, South London Gallery, Peckham Platform & Assembly Point.
18.00 – A more relaxed finish to the day, we went to course leader Jonathan’s home for a meal.
After 2 days based at Camberwell College of Arts doing workshops day 8 was full of visits around London. First was the Stanley Kubrick archive held at London College of Communication one of the other colleges of the University of the Arts London.
Two of the archivists had pulled out some highlights from the archive to illustrate the vast range of material available. Kubrick was known for incredible depth of research a great example of which was some of the preparation for the film 2001: A Space Odyssey. Kubrick produced about 300 files of correspondence with a wide range of companies. He had made contact asking for their vision of what the future would be like in their industry. The files included, letters, telegrams, notes, plans and images and not only from the obvious places like IBM and NASA but also from furniture and make up companies. We also saw a few items from some of the other significant archives such as an extensive comic book archive.
Next was the White Cube Gallery, Bermondsey for the the Christan Marclay exhibition which included a live re-perfromance of a Fluxus event from 1965. A real highlight of this show was the Surround Sounds installation of 4 silent synchronised projected animations.
We finished the day at the Whitechapel Gallery and specifically their exhibition, Adventures of the Black Square. This was an impressive presentation of significant work through the history of abstract art with a focus on the social and political context and impact of the work. The ground floor was full of inspiring and challenging work that still seemed revolutionary even with the passage of time. The second floor felt bit more confused although there was some work that pushed the national boundaries of the usual western European and North American sources, showing work from Iran, Mexico and China amongst others.
Began with a visit to the V&A museum to meet Melanie Lenz the Patric Prince Curator of Digital Art and Digital Programmes Manager. Melanie made a selection from the V&As growing collection of work that comes the very broad and contested titles of ‘computer art’, ‘digital art’ or simply work that engages with the digital environment. She led us on a fascinating walk through history with some great examples of work by Roman Verostko, Mark Wilson, Ben Laposky,and many others.
We then returned to Camberwell College for a choice of seminars that crossed over the 5 different MA courses offered. Students could choose between ‘Sequential Narrative in book arts’, ‘Curatorial thinking’, ‘The exhibition is a slippery thing’ or ‘Investigating narrative in illustration’.
The day ended with a meal for everyone at course leader Jonathan’s home, lots of good food, including a sprout couscous that even those who hated sprouts actually enjoyed!
There is always a great sense of anticipation at the beginning of the Low Residency times. First and second year students join together, mixing online from across the world join with all the students based in London what could possibly go wrong!
Before we had even started I realised that the White Building in East London had moved their planned showcase and panel discussion on ‘self versioning’ in art to the end of March so the afternoon and evening plans for day 1 had to be changed.
We started with an opportunity for some students to present their work, all of which produced some lively and useful discussion.
Our hastily rearranged afternoon started with a visit to the South London Gallery to see their latest exhibition by Isabelle Cornaro. We then planned to visit Beaconsfield Gallery only to realise on the bus travelling there that it was closed! So we stayed on the bus to visit Tate Britain to explore part of their ‘walk through British art’ taking in a election of work from the 1940s to 1990s. Rounded off with a drink and fascinating discussions in a local pub. Hopefully no more sudden date changes or closures!
Artist Chila Burman gives a tour through her exhibition, Ghosts. Unfortunately the iPhone it was recorded on stopped recording because it was full! However the first 25 minutes was captured and gives a flavour of the generosity of Chila in giving over 2 hours of her time to reveal much about her work.
UAL Joint Chairs of Black Art and Design Paul Goodwin and Sonia Boyce Present: GHOSTS
Grizedale Arts is a long established curatorial project based around Coniston, a village in the Lake District of North West England. We had the opportunity to visit for 2 days to discuss their innovative and challenging approach to an art project. Our visit included a tour of their farm, a meal prepared with food from that farm and other local sources, discussions about the art world, visit to the Ruskin museum and lots of tea drinking!
Grizedale Arts challenges many of the preconceived ideas of what the art world is or should be, this visit was invaluable for exploring this.