Tate Modern’s Frances Morris praises UAL’s 2018 Xhibit artists
Gender identity, race and Trump are just some of the topics being tackled at this year’s politically charged Xhibit 2018, showcased in a free exhibition on 19 April.
32 artists have been hand selected by an expert panel of artists, curators and creative industry professionals, including Director of Tate Modern and UAL Honorary, Frances Morris.
Frances Morris said:
“It’s great to get an insider’s view on the next generation of talent coming out of UAL. I was especially struck by the range and diversity of practices platformed in the final 2018 Xhibit selection. From textiles and fashion, to virtual reality pieces – the works display a raw talent and a keen sense of political issues – that showcases just how exciting emerging artists can be.”
UAL has once again partnered with leading media and entertainment company, Refinery29, dedicated to shining a light on the next generation of creative talent making waves in their fields.
The R29 Vision Award will return for a second year, honouring diversity and original thought. The winner of the R29 Vision Award will be profiled by Refinery29, in addition to having their work appear on site alongside others from this exhibition.
Selected artists will be also invited to tailored industry advice sessions with Frances at the Tate Modern. In addition all artists will be given a year’s membership to V&A.
Here are just some of the Xhibit artists on show
Annie Marie-Akussah, Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL
This mixed media collage piece speaks to narratives of migration and immigration. The top left a ‘laundry bag’ – fashionably appropriated by east Londoners – has caused the artist to reflect on the relevance of these sacks, those who come from Ghana and what it means to be uprooted (continually carrying your possessions). This bag in Ghana is called a ‘Ghana Must Go’ bag, referencing ideas of immigration and what it means to continually be in transit. The lower sack carrying potatoes (a food source which is often a base of most meals) it is used universally to carry a range of items crossing borders and boundaries. The image of the man symbolises the artist’s own feelings of transit and what it means to be kept from your own country.
Carlos Alba, London College of Communication, UAL
This collage represents a women’s painful journey through domestic violence. A mix of diary entries and X-Rays give the viewer a unique expose and understanding of a complex physical and emotional moment. The artist says: “Con Cariño is my love story with my grandmother, Ines, who suffered the violence of patriarchy. I didn’t realise this fact until I found her family album. When my grandmother cut off the head of my grandfather from the photographs, she opened it up to a new meaning. This act awoke my interest in the reflection of domestic abuse through the family album and offers me a fertile ground to tell the truth with visual prose that form the empathetic poem about Ines’ life. Violence against women has carelessly become a significant global public health problem affecting one-third of women in the world. However, there are many unreported cases. A large amount of women who have been in a relationship admit that they have experienced some form of physical, mental or sexual violence by their partner. Through this work, I am analysing the relationship between memory, gender violence and its representation in medical images and family photographs.”
Gwellian Spink, Camberwell College of Arts, UAL
Scratch Pole, a free standing sculpture, is a complex mix of beautiful minimalism and the grotesque being made up of fake nails and plasticine – harking at ideas of beauty and gender norms. A long, undulating plasticine form hangs vertically, connected to the ceiling and floor by steel chains. Acrylic nails protrude from its waxy surface in flowing patterns, reminiscent of biological or crystalline growth, being at once a beautiful and violent object. The focus of this sculpture is to transcend the mass-produced and cheap object. The acrylic nail is a visually appealing ornament that is used to make hands more beautiful. Historically they have been used as a status symbol, as it signified that the wearer did not have to perform manual labour. The labour intensive, repetitive process that is evident in the work contrasts with this symbolic meaning. As a result, the work is a contradiction morphed in a biological form.
Haocheng Wu, Central Saint Martins, UAL
This unique video reflects on the aesthetic ideals we hold dear as a way to define who we are; our eye colour, skin colour, food choice. Our cultural identity is increasingly an important platform especially for millennial individuals – something which defines who we are and how we interact. Without this, we are stripped to our bone infrastructure and if anything are brought to bear as being the sum of our parts. The artist says: “People have more in common than their differences. It makes no difference about your race, your economic status, whether you live in affluence or marginal poverty, whether you are a native or an immigrant to a country – people have the same basic needs and desires. But because people are often only able to form opinions of others through filters of other people’s; media and political lenses; the common man’s aspirations are never to get to be understood; goals and values- which are often the same as yours and mine. Based on this concept, this virtual performing installation is telling a true story and using the skeleton as a metaphor for highlighting the idea of equality.”
I-Jing Lee, London College of Fashion, UAL
People tend to notice things more when they are out of order or dislocated. The norm is what is often ignored, but lamented when nowhere to be found. The artist researched equestrian clothing. She says: “It is a sport that requires discipline for safety reasons. The strict dress code however shows weak functionality, while the horse jump performance events offers a thrill. The Shirt was constructed oversized. As well as the dislocated and extra sleeve at the front bodice block, it is as a hilarious joke that I imagine Dada would make on tight, old-fashion and disciplined equestrian clothing. The sleeve, which may be recognised as the floral sleeve, was inspired by stock ties’ silhouette when wearing.”
Jo Lane, Wimbledon College of Arts, UAL
Jo Lane takes photos of people’s hair and illustrates every twist. The artist says: “two blue is a portrait, hovering behind the human head where hair manifests itself into drawn lines. Hair is simultaneously mythical, sociological and economic; it is nature and memory and has a hallowed lineage as an artistic subject. Endlessly fascinated by the way hair behaves, where it comes from and its relation to cognition, I let my pencil move along lines in a way I had not been able to conjure without it. Line and balance are my allies and my adversaries. They guide me in my battle between the long line and the miniature mark, as I seek to depict a place where one feeling can eclipse everything you know.”
Klara Vith, Camberwell College of Arts, UAL
This series of letterpress prints started out as a side project triggered by the most recent presidential election in the United States. The artist says: “I am particularly interested in texts that have the intention to subconsciously instruct or manipulate, so I could not ignore Donald J. Trump’s speaking habits. I began to transcribe one of Trump’s speeches and was immediately struck by how differently it felt to read rather than listen to. Utilising the typography and structure of Mallarmé’s work, I turned sections from three of Trump’s key speeches into visual poetry, dissecting his words and exposing the carefully constructed system that lies underneath. Alongside text and typography, process plays a key role in my practice, and typesetting letterpress prints by hand means that every word demands equal focus. Without being distracted by key words and phrases, the patterns of Trump’s rhetoric became very clear to me. In my mind, much like any photograph or print, a piece of text demands an unbiased, thorough look and the viewer to break out of their usual reading pattern.”
Miles Johnson, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
Eric’s Story is an augmented reality iPad application that tells the story of Eric Garner, an African American man who was strangled by a New York City police officer in 2014. The application features eight news clips, organized
chronologically, that portray the event from various points of view. It also presents the names of 29 unarmed African Americans killed by police in the United States since 1999. The goal of this application is to prompt people to reflect upon the story of Eric Garner in a platform that juxtaposes the events of 2014 against one’s everyday life. In so doing, the application underscores the singular tragedy of Garner’s death while also illuminating how commonplace events like this have become in the United States.
Rayvenn Shaleigha D’Clark, Chelsea College of Arts, UAL
A haunting reminder of our colonial past – Rayvenn presents a human body part suspended on hooks. Here ideals of the black body and commodification of the black experience is laid bare for all the view and encounter. “My practice exposes and articulates the black body laid bare – in traction, unencumbered; motivated by issues inherent to the African diaspora- including invisibility vs. hyper-visibility, blackness- seeking an elevation of the black form, by fuelling a discussion of the irregular position of the black-artist, abstracted and marginalised in a male, pale, and stale, whitewashed art world. My work explores the playful theatricality of sculpture, examining the space between objects modelling the real and its ability to usurp the original as self-sustaining fictions.”
Thomas Cardew and Katarina Rankovic, Central Saint Martins, UAL
A satirical insight into the deadpan worlds of creative influencers who use their power to invest in the dark world of fire arms – increasingly removing themselves from reality. Art to Artillery, an absurd tale of artists whom, through their success or otherwise descend into gun production. Comedic and absurd, yet played through a realism of the contemporary artist interview trope, the boundaries between truth and fiction are indeed questionable here. This film is not only a collaboration between Tom and Kat, but over 40 artists from UAL came together to supply props, costume and accessories for the shoot (bad pun).
Yugi Deng, Central Saint Martins, UAL
This deeply problematic product creation looks to change and morph the size, shape and feel of your pet – this is a field which has recently come under criticism especially in light of yearly dog shows such as Krufts which works to platform natural breading and excellence over human intervention through the creation of appendages or products to aid animals physique. “Through The evolution of dog I am discussing how and why people shaped dogs in the past and how people will continue to do so in the future. These wearable products aim to reveal people’s desire for control and selfish intentions towards man’s best friend. The wearable equipment I have designed makes dogs adorable looking through bigger eyes, longer body and a curved forehead; I want to show an ironic paradox through these designs. The dog will have limited freedom to go out alone when its owner is away at work. I am not appealing to a dog’s rights, but instead dramatically demonstrating a dog’s status.”
19 April – 12 May 2018
Art Bermondsey Project Space
183-185 Bermondsey Street
London SE1 3UW