This term, staff from our BA Drawing course arranged external exhibitions for each year group to show their work. The venue selected was Hotel Elephant, an organisation near Elephant and Castle run by a Drawing course graduate, Emily Woodhouse. Students had the use of an old wash house drying room and canteen, and many students created or adjusted work on site. Some groups chose to work collaboratively or did live performances.
The opportunity to make work outside of their studios, without the pressure of assessment, gave students room to try new ways of working and expand the scale of their work, especially the scope of what drawing can be. The private views also enabled students to speak with each other, and new audiences about their work. For many, this was their first exhibition in London. Here we present a few images of the exhibitions and speak to two second year students, Nate Frazer and Kyriakos Tsirigotis about their practice and experience of the shows.
Nate Frazer, BA Drawing:
“As an artist whom has recently come to reside in south London from the countryside, I have come to use the local area within my work. By engaging with local residents I try to see the area through their eyes rather than as a misconception painted by the media. Their stories are a gateway into their lives and the history of south London, typically my work adopts a documentary nature, I like to provide the audience with a viewpoint which is unbiased by my own opinions.
The exhibition at Hotel Elephant was a great experience for the group, it was the first time we had all exhibited outside of the college together and we were all impressed by the space, eager to make use of as much of it as possible. We were encouraged to try new, daring things for the exhibition, regardless of whether or not we would deem the result ‘successful’. Joyfully many used the three days of set up to do exactly this and have a bit of fun. It was a very positive experience, one we would love to do again.”
Kyriakos Tsirigotis, BA Drawing:
“The exhibition space was not a usual gallery space, but it was an abandoned building which is soon to be refurbished. My starting point for the exhibition was refugees and the walls European countries are building at their borders to prevent free movement. I tried to produce a large artwork to fit the space but after various attempts with different materials, I didn’t feel that my idea was working well in the space. I decided to move my artwork closer to the entrance. There I built a wall using materials I found outside of the exhibition space, such as big blocks of wood, tyres etc. The final result was a wall similar to the barriers which protesters use to build on the streets during the demonstrations. My barrier also made the visitors enter the exhibition space from a small door, instead of the main entrance.
From the exhibition I realised how important it is for an artist to work flexibly in the space which is provided for their artwork. I realised that artwork needs to speak within the gallery space, otherwise the meaning of your piece may get lost within it.”