Work by our 2021 art graduates is currently on show in Saatchi Gallery's London Grads Now in a display curated by two MA Culture, Criticism and Curation students. Here, Lingfei Song and Jingwen Weng, share their curatorial approach to the project.
"The COVID-19 pandemic engenders greater demand for the care of emotional and mental health. While the pandemic has disrupted or halted critical mental health services in 93% of countries worldwide, the beauty and power that can be found in art and nature are the cures we turn to. The artworks by Central Saint Martins 2021 MA graduates on display here reveal the confines of human knowledge, demonstrate artists’ tolerance and diverse understandings of the unfamiliar and the unusual, and highlight the enduring quest that people have for adventures and new discoveries.
We selected these works to meditate on themes of harmony and uncertainty. Accordingly, Gentle Escapes consists of four curated chapters: The Underneath recounts myths and challenges the limits of human imagination. The Trail leads to a haven of peace and serenity. The Event merges reality with fantasies or illusions, and The Mundane, with a good sense of humour, attempts to counter the absurd with the absurd. In these four distinctive chapters we see artists making sense of the world from multiple perspectives, reflecting on the relationship between individuals and their surroundings, and inviting us to escape into daydreams of alternate realities.
Gentle Escapes is designed to strike a balance between the poetic and the satiric, the realistic and the unexpected, between calmness and amusement, comprehension and puzzlement. The journey of Gentle Escapes may serve as a temporary escape route from the boring, routine aspects of our lives, or the horror inflicted by the pandemic. Our group of young emerging artists from CSM has generously displayed in this show their great potential to break open a poetic, imaginative and contemplative realm of artistic creation."
London Grads Now is at Saatchi Gallery until 16 January 2022. The exhibition brings together work from Goldsmiths University, Camberwell College of Art, Chelsea College of Arts, Royal College of Art, Kingston School of Art, Slade School of Art and Camberwell College of Arts.