Last year Bloomberg New Contemporaries was at Block 336 in Brixton in South London; this year it has returned to South London, but to the boundaries of Clerkenwell and Peckham at the South London Gallery (SLG) which, with the recently re-opened Fire Station, provides more and a greater variety of space.
Bloomberg New Contemporaries showcases work from new and emerging artists from British Art Schools; this year it has broadened out to include artists from non-degree awarding institutions. I challenge you to tell which is which! The over-riding theme of the selection reflects the issues of modern society, including migration, borders, cultural and gender identity, the impact of technology and the pecking order of arts education with a government that seems to have its priorities elsewhere.
One of the most poignant works is Mohammed Sami’s ‘Displacement’ where something as simple as an electrical power socket can brand you as an immigrant, while Faye Claridge’s ‘Notice Locals’ has different stories as you walk around it, with the BBC being seen as a bastion of the ‘Establishment’.
It is invidious to pick out the various artists as there is so much excellent work on display, with over 20 works on show in each of the two buildings, though work by caught my eye. The two floors of the Fire Station shows smaller, more intimate, works, a mixture of installation, sculpture, video and art in a variety of materials, while the main space in the original SLG has larger works as installations in the centre of the hall and on the walls. To add to the variety, there are also performance events organised in the galleries on Wednesdays and Saturdays.
The combination of art and the different spaces is a great success and I hope that this partnership between Bloomberg New Contemporaries and the SLG will continue in future years. Bloomberg was last here in 1999 – that is a long time ago….