RCA exhibitions

Friday, June 24 2011 @ 07:49 PM UTC

Contributed by: Dan

South of the Thames after six months in Kilburn, I took the chance to stop and review the RCA's end-of-year shows.

With a network of light industrial buildings around Battersea, hemmed in by real industry and car workshops, this is truly culture as industry; manufactories of creativity. The first building I visited was the sculpture building, There is a breadth of work on show here, from David Pringle's massed ranks of Kodak Carousel slide projectors making an unholy racket to Evy Jokhova's giant architectural printmaking and book-work. Both of them have produced solid, intelligent work in very different ways.

But sadly, that's all I can tell you about the next generation of edgy, exciting British artists. Before I got any further, I was 'challenged'.

One of the students, in a witty commentary on this, a sly interrogation of that and a clever provocation of the other, has indulged in a piece of dull performance art. Fake security guards challenge your right to view work or access areas of the exhibition. The concept is A-level performance art stuff, however well executed; and the trouble is I can't be bothered to argue the toss. I didn't stay, or visit the other buildings either.

So if you're in Battersea, I really wouldn't bother with the RCA shows. They'll only niggle and mildly irritate.

Nearby is the glorious Battersea Park, the 1951 Festival of Britain's Pleasure Gardens. The garden includes extravagant water features, riotous planting, gorgeous riverbank walks and a surprise around every bend in its complex paths. For all its glorious pink-and-yellow concrete technicolour, zig-zagging modernist railings, quirky specimen planting and glorious 50s colourscheme it's still modern, edgy, fresh and exciting - and most of all welcoming and entertaining. Unlike the art exhibition down the road.

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