As part of their second year studies, our Undergraduate Drawing, Painting, Photography and Sculpture students are required to take part in an external exhibition, ‘UNIT’. This year the exhibition took place between 16-17 January 2016 at CGP London which includes two exhibition spaces in Southwark Park: The Gallery and Dilston Grove.
Students were involved in various aspects of the exhibition process including installation, online promotion and labelling of work. Tutors also held assessments of work within the exhibition space. The project is designed to give students a real understanding of organising exhibitions outside of a college environment. We asked some students to share images of their work and details of their UNIT 2016 experience.
Harry Walker – BA Photography
‘I am particularly interested in ‘curated chance’, setting your work into motion but actively leaving an element of the outcome out of your control. For UNIT, I produced a table and incorporated a print inside it. I wanted people to walk around the piece and spend more time looking at it as an object rather than a print on the wall. By laying the images down on a flat surface it also created an ambiguous orientation which I hoped would challenge the viewer. The images themselves were prints made from photographs of the gallery making the piece site specific.
We were responsible for general tasks, such as unloading and loading art works as well as working with the staff of the gallery to put the gallery back to its original state. The exhibition was well advertised and therefore busy which was quite an enlightening experience. It was really encouraging to realise that there is an audience out there for the work we are producing at Camberwell.
The exhibition pushed me past my initial fear of exhibiting and made me create something I had to regard as resolved. By taking part in the creation of the show I now have more confidence to participate in shows of my own, and to assist other artists.’
Yvette Bruce – BA Drawing
I’ve recently moved from Illustration into Fine Art Drawing, as a result my practice is really varied. I’ve become very interested in books over the last year. I am interested in how they can be a private and a public space and a way to disseminate ideas. For UNIT I exhibited a book that was made up of photographic images of textured walls, the abstracted and close up nature of the images made them resemble abstract paintings.
Taking part in an external exhibition has forced me to make decisions in my practice which I wouldn’t otherwise make. I have also learnt a lot about myself as a person. I had a huge meltdown a couple of days prior to the exhibition (thank you to my tutor for bringing me out of it) and almost didn’t exhibit anything. It’s always scary putting yourself out there but I think this process made me realise there will always be people who don’t like or understand your work but that’s ok.
The next project for me will be a collaboration with other 2nd year Drawing students. I’m hoping to work on an interactive installation to try to get people physically involved. I’ve heard that Art and Design is a subject that may be taken out of schools which is terrible news, we need creative minds in this world. I’d like to do something in this next show that gets people excited and involved in being creative’.
Lara Kester – BA Photography
‘I am fascinated by emptiness and our abnormal approach to it as we always seem to want to fill it. I want to explore nothingness and unlock the idea of nothing being something. For UNIT I did a performance involving soap. I had previously cut the soap into small pieces and then mixed it with liquid soap in a sink. I repetitively compressed the mixture with my hands (each performance lasted about 30 minutes) until it started to merge into a new bigger sculptural form and essentially reformulating it into an interrupted version of itself. Once the soap is compressed and solid enough I slipped it out of the sink and placed it on the floor as a sculpture, I call them soap stones. I performed this three times at different points over the duration of the show.
The exhibition weekend and Private view was a real success. I had a very big audience on the Sunday as a lot of people came for the private view and I got some great feedback and comments about my work from friends, tutors and members of the public. I really enjoyed seeing the wide variety of work within second year and it was nice to be out of the studios for once, seeing our work in professional spaces.
UNIT has enabled me to learn how my work can work well within certain spaces and surroundings. I exhibited in Dilston Grove (Grade 2 listed former Church) which is a very interesting space. It’s a complete contrast to the white walled CGP gallery. I feel much more at home in stranger, ‘dirtier’, decaying spaces when displaying my work.’
Dan Waite – BA Painting
‘My practice is currently a combination of painting and sculpture. I’m interested in installations using both found objects and sculpture to create a piece around a painting. Following on from the piece I exhibited in the show, I’m looking at developing this into a more complex installation style, and potentially moving away from the abstract landscape idea I’ve been working with. Oh, and everything’s pink.
The idea behind the work I exhibited at UNIT is about an imagined world or reality. The painting depicts a world that exists only as a fleeting thought or emotion, an imagined landscape that lasts only briefly. The objects around serve two purposes; to connect this imagined place with our own, physical reality and to create a tangible connection between the two.
Taking part in external exhibitions always helps one’s practice. You gain invaluable experience from setting up and being in a show. The feedback you get can influence the way you look at your own work, or, in fact, the way you work. You gain more insight from exhibitions you organise completely independently, but taking part in university exhibitions is still a great experience. I also worked on some of the social media promotion for the exhibition; Facebook events, organising and sending press releases and taking over the Camberwell Instagram account which was great fun.
I’m currently involved in a collaborative exhibition between Cardiff University and Camberwell which will take place in Cardiff towards the end of March. I’ve got some other ideas for shows; one in my hometown of Cheltenham; a couple here in London, and if I’m lucky, I’d love to do a solo show at some point this year, but that may be a bit too ambitious right now!’
Sid Black – BA Photography
‘My practice revolves around a search for images that are unsettling and slightly surreal, for reasons that are unclear. I’m currently working on a project based around dystopian imagery in films and literature, as well as working a lot with found surgical photographs and experimental darkroom techniques.
I was part of the steering committee for the exhibition. We mainly took charge of small jobs but we also got an insight into how the curation of an exhibition worked, which was very interesting. The show seemed to go very smoothly – I think everyone was pleased.
The work I exhibited was a selection of photos printed on a large PVC banner placed on the back wall of the church. It’s a selection of photographs taken in and around abandoned buildings, as well as a few portraits, and a few pictures of badly-taxidermied birds. The piece is called Das Nichts, (the nothing) which refers to Heidegger’s theory of Being-towards-death. This was a big influence on my thinking whilst I was taking the photographs.
As I hadn’t been involved in many gallery exhibitions before I hadn’t been forced to finalise my ideas into finished single outcomes. UNIT required me to think about my practice in this way and translate my ideas into an exhibition piece, it was very valuable experience.’