The interior and surface designed. Wandering around degree shows

So it is this time of the year again. Most of the BA courses across London had their hand-​ins and have since pre­pared for their degree shows. I used to study at the London College of Communication and have always gone to (almost) every private view across the uni­ver­sit­ies. This year was not going to be an excep­tion: the rainy sum­mer even­ings weren’t going to hold me back.

The first private views I went to were at LCC. I decided to go and see Interior Design first. While the dis­cip­line in itself isn’t some­thing that par­tic­u­larly interests me, there could always be some­thing worth see­ing. They had built a whole con­struc­tion in the New Street Gallery and had all their pro­jects up on weird con­struc­tions. While the sign at the entrance was pretty cool, you were then sur­roun­ded by these ‘shapes’. Probably the com­plete oppos­ite of invis­ible cur­a­tion, those con­struc­tions were very obstruct­ive. On a side-​note, if any­one has been to the Tate Britain recently to view the Picasso exhib­i­tion: have you seen the frames those paint­ings are moun­ted on? There is no con­form­ity and some of them are abso­lutely massive, com­pletely over­shad­ow­ing the piece they frame…

Back on track, the pro­jects were inter­est­ing. Typical to the course, most of the final pro­jects were solv­ing com­munity and social issues. The mod­els fea­tured egg­shells, magical castles envel­oped by weird sil­very linen and other fant­ast­ical con­structs.

I then joined up with Christian, who used to be on my course and now works in Letterpress, and we went to see Surface Design (on the 3rd floor of the Design block). Surface Design is always inter­est­ing, play­fully filling the space with a huge vari­ety of pro­jects. This year fea­tured a lot more abstract work than the pre­vi­ous years. There were trendy gad­gets, a coffin install­a­tion, a doll house, huge mural draw­ings and a hand­ful of ceramic prints.

Some pieces caught the eye and were rather beau­ti­ful, while oth­ers were poorly presen­ted and sur­pris­ingly unpro­fes­sional. A par­tic­u­larly inter­est­ing install­a­tion fea­tured two stu­dents pro­ject­ing tex­tures unto 3D shapes on a while, a new age attempt to sur­face design. They were beau­ti­ful and worked well with the ambi­ent music played in the room.

As Christian had to leave, I decided to head to Goldsmiths to have a quick look at their BA Photography and Fine Art show. Now, I have mixed feel­ings about Goldsmiths: there was a good vibe around the exhib­i­tions, fea­tur­ing live math rock music and free, cold beers (LCC now has you pay for everything…).

On the other hand, some pieces were very poorly presen­ted (moun­ted unto black sugar paper) and some were just extremely ambi­tious. I per­son­ally believe that no mat­ter how much of an artist you con­sider your­self, your work should still be aes­thet­ic­ally pleas­ing. It should at least fea­ture a con­cep­tual explan­a­tion… Laying pota­toes around the room and hooked unto a weird machine could be con­sidered ‘sick’ or ‘rad’ by your friends, but to the unknow­ing audi­ence it is not, to say the least. This was too bad, because the church con­ver­ted into an exhib­i­tion space is abso­lutely amaz­ing and was used in such a bad way…

The high­light of the even­ing is prob­ably a per­form­ance piece I man­aged to see, fea­tur­ing a Taiwanese per­former pour­ing three whole bottles of soja sauce unto her­self. While I can hardly ima­gine some­thing worse, the piece was power­ful and the smell even­tu­ally revolt­ing, com­pletely immers­ing the audi­ence in the emo­tions the artist is try­ing to con­vey (that of rebirth and wash­ing away of sins, in rela­tion to her family’s dis­missal of her homo­sexu­al­ity).

Nathan Gotlib
About author:
Nathan Gotlib
Nathan's work tends to be about information and the way it is spread. His enthusiasm and love for neon signage stems from this interest. A subject he continually tries to explore is how people react to experiencing certain bits of information and the psychological effect it has on them. This goes hand in hand with his practice of Design, a discipli... Read further >
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