Creative Uncertainty

Zhiwen Tang's black and white illustration 'Chinese Dreams'

This exhibition ran from 16 September until 15 November.

The work in this window was made in the spring of 2016, shortly before the UK referendum on leaving the European Union. The ensuing political debate created a sense of unrest and uncertainty, and as CSM students from all over the world waited to hear the result of the Brexit vote, this disquiet was reflected in their work. 

Here, pieces push against borders and boundaries to unsettle and question in different ways. Edwin Mahoney’s work, a physically restricting and monstrous figure the model is taped into, echoes anxiety and fear while Sergiy Grechyshkin’s work is infused with paranoia about fragility, with delicate materials drawing attention to the garment’s threatened sensitive nature. 

In more subtle ways, the uncanny and disconcerting nature of the everyday is played with in Lucie Davis’ Precious Price Pins, taking the lowly price sticker and imitating it in metal and enamel. Stacey Huang also explores our consumer culture and the endless desire for ‘things’ with her Buy One Get One Free jewellery sets. Playing with the surreal by using the reflection of an earring to represent the ‘free earring’ her Frankenstein jewellery pieces join and connect in unexpected ways, moving from what we expect to something more disturbing.

Concerns abroad are reflected in Zhiwen Tang’s Chinese Dreams. These beautifully drawn scenes illustrate the real life tale of Tang’s parents having three children under China’s one child policy, an unimaginably brave and challenging thing to do, and something which has clearly had a lasting effect on the designer.

These works show how the creative spirit engages with an uncertain world.