Wimbledon Fine art Degree show 2011

I am trying to be as unbiased as possible when critiquing this show, but it was my favourite out the BA. There are three sections which all specialize, some would disapprove of this and others would say it helps focus on one medium and creates clarity within the pieces. Each department certainly had a different feel to it, it all depends on taste. Their catalogue was well laid out and useful. Sculpture:

Graduating from here last year I would love to say they stole the show, but they didn't. There were some really nice pieces but time based media stole the whole show. The show is nicely curated but very hard to work out who is who because there is only a map to work things out and when you have 3 or 4 shows to cram in 2 days of a weekend you want things to be a accessible and quick as possible. It does try as hard as it can to look like a concise real exhibition which is nice, but upon thinking about it, isn't the point of a show to get your name out there for the first time? From experience I know this is not the students decision but the bits that are nice within it, a very nice.

Poppy Bisdee
Poppys work interests me a lot, she demonstrates a very high level of objective awareness which contributes to work of high standard. Poppy manages to incorporate the ideas throughout her work, into the context of where it is shown and manages to get the viewers reactions to the work to mirror the ideas within it. I will explain through examples.

'A measure of suspense' was shown in the foundry, creating a small blackened out cinematic space for viewers to go in 3/4 at a time. On the film we see a bag of water hanging above a lit tea light. In our minds, we are waiting for the bag to pop and for a black out, but at the same time, the viewers themselves feel suspense as they walk into the blacked out special space for the film itself. There is a double ended suspense for the piece, as well as inside the piece.

'Unit' consists of a acetate square positioned onto a turned on OHP projector, projecting a fake space into the space. One starts to notice the details of the space in which the piece is held and the relationship broadens the more you stand and think. In reality the projection is not identical to its space, but similar enough for you to think it is the same. It is entertaining because it gives the illusion that this piece can only be experienced in this exact space making it a unique and a space custom made experience. But again there is this direct relationship between the art object itself and the context in which it is shown.


Zuza Mengham

Zuza Mengham's elegant sculpture is beautifully crafted, with an obvious confidence in the choice of material, building, making, and general aesthetic consideration. Steel hovers above, a traditional architectural and industrial material mixed in with another industrial yet more commercial line created by neon. Holding on by a thread dangles a spider plant, a thread between industrialisation and nature: due to its resilience, it is often used in domestic and office environments. Below lies a corner made of steel; two more domesticated plants lay next to it.
When observing the sculpture, the main source of light comes from up above, as it naturally does from the sun. The viewer is then stimulated to turn away from nature, and try to find new connections in their head.


Time based Media

Time based media were the best section of Wimbledon this year. Three very strong artists who have developed a strong contextual base alongside very ambitious projects. The works show a deep complexity not just in the ideas but how they are manifested. Upon looking at their sites it is obvious they are all working together as a team as they feature support for each other. The topics discussed are relevant, emotions used as commodity, the dying face of religion and a movie trailer about egocentricity. Very impressed.

Max Dovey

Max Dovey's Emotional Stockmarket consisted of three monitors, all connected to separate till receipt machines. Each screen was covered with fonts of different colours: red, yellow and blue. Sharp glimpses or words and statements from Twitter buzzed among the monitors; every time the word LOVE, HAPPY or SAD was typed into a tweet, the machine printed out a little receipt with the tweet on it, and viewers were encouraged to buy a slip at a share price.

The receipts were allowed to make a mess on the floor in three consistent lines, and various other elements were positioned around the work like 4 clocks depicting the time in different parts of world alongside sheets explaining the piece. The share prices were updated on Twitter regularly, so that people could follow the prices.

This piece does not mirror the formality of the actual processes behind our real stock exchange - but does it need to? It cleverly taps into what people assume the stock exchange is like. The spectacle of it amuses enough to disregard whether the machines authenticity: its entertaining surface is enough, and this reflects how our social networking sites depict our own emotions as commodity. Do we actually care when the broken heart appears on our secondary school mates Facebook page? What is the price that match.com put on meeting your soulmate?


Archie Sinclair

Archie Sinclair created another wonderful installation; An Exercise in Tautology, questions our notions of religion through repetition of iconography and text. One side of the room voices the word "Allah" on repetition, while "Jesus" is written on the other side. On one wall all the titles of the chapters within the bible are recited in English; the other side is dedicated to the Qu'ran. Christening bowls with water lay on the floor with pray mats. An open bible has the word God highlighted throughout, a Qur'an mirrors what can only be predicted as Allah.

The question is: where does the current state of religion lie? As church halls rent out to slimming groups and AA meetings, has its digression left unfulfilled holes in peoples identities? Placing God and Allah in the same room allows the viewer to examine the East and West, with their similarities and differences, and to understand the power of religion itself.


Joe Sutherland

Joe Sutherland created a movie trailer for a film which I guess will be shown sometime in the future. Shots of pepsi and coca colas cans side by side, gloves being pulled out of boxer shorts, an investigation into pop itself. The trailer did leave me anticipating the film, but I am unclear as to what the film is about. It certainly feels like a bridge between film and fine art but the overall aesthetic was very clean and sharp like advertising itself.

Print and digital media

Judith Hayes

Judith Hayes painting Still Life. After Cotan references 17th century Spanish 'Bodegones' artist Juan Sánchez Cotán, who worked at raising the status of the everyday object, recreating his original painting with Tesco shopping. The original painting created a false visual depth on to a 2D pane. By reworking the concept using Tesco products and photography, Hayes explores the still life in contemporary art.

I am unsure whether she takes Cotan's original conception any further, other than questioning the amount of thought that people engage with when buying their food (such as, where it comes from, the authenticity of marketing), but there is nothing in the form that suggests anything different.


Darius Lambert

These beautiful paintings by Darius Lambert of potted plants were beautiful. Typically familiar to me as house plants, in this painting they are unnaturally planted into a very fake earth. The black background enhances their alien surroundings. One questions our own consumption of nature, and the nature of nature itself. What is exotic these days? What is tropical? Where are these orchids, cacti, and Esso garage flowers coming from? The answers to this reality are quite dark, just like the paintings.


Wimbledon Amateur Society

This society created an installation?/club in the lecture theatre. Before entering three projections high up on the wall showed the three founders (I think) posing in video portraits. They stood in pose surrounded by symbolic props like Globes and pyramids made of oranges. When entering the theatre cheesy music was playing for example Gold by Spandau Balletesque ish stuff and you were greeted by a table selling t-shirts badges etc all supporting the society. Cinema seats implanted into the ground sat in front of a projection which played videos of the societies pieces of work and movie trailers (for example Joe Sutherlands). Around the room lay evidence of all their projects. Mass produced painting workshops, pop music workshops, little tables holding magazines etc which help discuss their ideology. The feel in there was wonderful, we had students Grandmas and Granddads resting, students deliberately and the viewers actually smiling whilst looking at stuff.

David Camerons 'Big Society' is asking us to come together and work with each other to make this world a better place. This society has that kind of vibe to it, coming together as a group, sharing the load together, feeling good and not being isolated. Art in all of its aspects has been quite a subjective, isolated module. Artist on his own, making decisions on his own, collector buying it on his own, it being with the collector, on its own, people visiting a gallery, being generally silent and walking round with subjective very internal thoughts. What if art stopped being that? and became about communities, talking next to and with whoever was there with you at the time, artworks being made as groups like to Otiloth group nominated for the Turner Prize last year. This is my personal favourite out of all the pieces at the degree show because of this idea alone, it excites me.

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