A photographic view of a quiet art gallery, but it is not the art which is being photographed but rather it is the few viewers recorded by Marta Barina from the Camberwell College of Art, catching their reactions and the emotions in a fleeting moment of time as they stand alone looking at an unknown painting or sculpture, while Anya Broido from the London College of Communication takes photographs which record different, contrasting and unexpected aspects of night-time Soho between 11pm and 4am, such as a man who had just rescued five soft cuddly teddy bears from being thrown away by a frustrated street trader.
2017 will be the 20th anniversary year of the founding of Xhibit which provides public exposure and professional development support for new creative work from students at the University of the Arts London (UAL), selected by a panel of creative industry professionals.
Limited only by imagination, students are selected from different courses across UAL, working in a variety of different media. Kuniko Maeda from the Chelsea College of Art takes everyday materials that are often thrown away as the base material for her three dimensional swirling designs, inspired by dancers and choreography and floating with the delicacy of feathers, while Juliana Dorso at Central Saint Martins has been inspired by Virginia Woolf and the Bloomsbury set in her bold clothing designs.
Frederick Anderson at Wimbledon College of Art creates charcoal, pencil and ink drawings that sit between figurative representation and abstraction, between the tangible and the intangible, between the two dimensional paper and the three dimensional image and draw the viewer into the created spaces.
Xiuching Tsay at the London College of Fashion ignores those elegant drawings art deco on the cover of Vogue magazine for images which are more sinister, more graphic, more lusty, linking to figures by Picasso and Francis Bacon, with sexual innuendos – which is after all is what fashion is all about at its most basic.
Lastly, Armenoui Kasparian Saraidari from Central Saint Martins uses photography and film to remind us of the reality of life for immigrant families, in this case her own Armenian family who were part of a large immigration resulting from massacres and mass deportation in their homeland and who, as they sought a new life in Europe, started a photographic collection which is personal, human, historic and artistic.
It’s that time of year where the annual show in the UAL Showroom on High Holborn has just closed, as have the degree shows across UAL. With the 20th anniversary next year, there is an opportunity to reflect on where the Xhibit creative professionals of the last 20 years are now and how the teaching, training, mentoring and support of the University of the Arts and its constituent colleges has contributed to the creative landscape of London and elsewhere.
How can universities provide the best facilities to support these activities in future decades, while they also look more and more internationally? The Higher Education Design Quality Forum (HEDQF)’s 2016 conference in Central Saint Martins, UAL, this week at King’s Cross will examine what university campuses need to support creativity and enterprise to continue and develop in the future.