Bloomberg New Contemporaries

Martine Rouleau
Institute of Contemporary Arts (ICA), London
November 27, 2012 — January 13, 2013
Jennifer BaileyDanielle in the Studio (from New Girls), 2011.
Photo: courtesy of ICA, London and Bloomberg New Contemporaries
[En anglais]

What makes a young artist good? The number of exhibitions and prizes dedicated to identifying the elusive promise of youth are numerous and wildly variable. Bloomberg New Contemporaries, in its third year at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, specializes in supporting emergent art practice from British art schools. Selected by Cullinan Richards, Nairy Baghramian, and Rosalind Nashashibi from more than twelve hundred submissions, this year’s selection of twenty-nine young artists presents a surprisingly cohesive aesthetic. There is a freshness to this edition, an overall sense that the works were selected for their simplicity, their lack of artifice.

For instance, the naïve paintings and collages of Freya Douglas-Morris might hint at a post-colonial comment, but it’s their childish aesthetic that dominates. Jan May’s naïve paintings eschew the commentary altogether in favour of pleasing shapes on solid backgrounds. Max Ruf’s large-scale abstract paintings are highly saturated with acetone on Xerox and toner pigment, yet Tyra Tingleff achieves as great an impact on a smaller scale with her thickly layered oil paintings. Emanuel Röhss’ work presents a lighter approach as he opted to partially cover his canvas with strategically placed smudges of watercolour, letting the weave of raw linen feature prominently.

There is a wide selection of moving-image works, ranging from documented social experiment, such as by Simon Senn, to the aesthetic manipulation of found footage in Salome Ghazanfari’s Boxer (Young Marble Giants). Untitled (Ready for a Fight) by Anita Delaney provides a surprising injection of humour and aggression with a fixed camera trained on a barely clothed individual, fists raised in a boxer’s stance. The threat is somewhat softened by the fact that this person is smoking through a hole in the handkerchief that obscures his or her face.

Some works challenge disciplinary boundaries, existing between installation, sculpture, and painting. Lauren Godfrey’s Spaghetti Alle Vongole looks like a placard lying face down on the floor, taking up space in a playful way, as does Tomorrow we will run faster, stretch our arms farther, a silk banner covered in tiny characters and stretched between sculptural poles. Jennifer Bailey’s work also stands out. Displayed on and around a simple plywood table, her digital photograph on fabric, oil on board, and mixed media installation appears like a small exhibition in its own right. The diversity of materials and styles doesn’t detract from the tactile quality of her installation New Girls, a collection of crude ceramic objects reminiscent of artefacts. Her works draw you in; they almost ask to be handled.

If Bloomberg New Contemporaries is any indication of the work that will emerge from art schools in the years to come, it might mark a welcome return to an exploration of materials and a lighter mood.

Jennifer Bailey, Martine Rouleau
Jennifer Bailey, Martine Rouleau
Cet article parait également dans le numéro 77 - Indignation

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