The Royal College of Art’s MA 2021 Photography & Print classes come together from 14 - 18 July 2021 and Contemporary Art Practice from 21 - 25 July in satellite events within the galleries at Cromwell Place. A graduate exhibition is a space where multiple sites of knowledge, production, creation and process come together. The RCA 2021 cohort share their delight, that the time spent researching, making, experimenting, discussing and developing can now be experienced in physical form.
The 2021 Royal College of Art MA Contemporary Art Practice Graduate Show will offer visitors a unique opportunity to experience the very best of emerging contemporary art. An extensive range of media will be on view and available for sale, from photography, print, sculpture, video, performance art, multimedia, interdisciplinary art, ceramics, textiles – all using a wide range of materials and subject matter that push against the expectations of what contemporary art is and can be.
MA Print and MA Photography 2021: Double Vision & After The High Tide
14 - 18 July
"In her moving book, ‘In Other Words’, the American writer Jhumpa Lahiri explores her decision, based on passionate curiosity, to write in Italian. Fluent in Bengali which she speaks at home with her parents and English which she learns at school, she chooses as an adult to learn and write in a third language, finding freedom in the directness it forces upon her. More than two thirds of this year’s graduates have more than one language. This past 18 months has made us all acutely aware that language is embodied and that bodies are differently vulnerable. The strange intimacy and estrangement of speaking only through a screen has become our Esperanto.
Print itself is a language that often requires translation from the haptic and spatial to the screen or plate and back again. To make traditional prints you need to think in reverse, and the complexity and error prone nature of many processes means that maker must be alive to chance and able to improvise. Slow making allows for reflection. To translate such thinking to the screen requires persistence, since most computer program aims standardize things, to reduce error and value speed.
The achievements of this year’s 35 graduates are profound. A collective rebellion against confinements of all kinds has resulted in an eruption of matter. Rocks, pillows, plants, steel, liquid light, the play between image and reality is ever- present. A person becomes a noticeboard, a billboard becomes a painting, flowers become prints, a face emerges from the inky matrix of a lithographic stone and railings become musical instruments. There is a dreamlike aspect to some work, reflecting the interiority forced on us all by Covid and the value of stories to connect people across time and space. This exhibition marks a return to materially shared experiences. It contains a certain reckoning with what is really important: care, improvisation, collaboration. An ability to convey emotion and difficulty is ever-present.
I trust in the ability of these graduates to continue creatively transforming limitations. Please enjoy their provocations and support their future work.
The show is accompanied by a text written for the occasion by Helen Cammock and the reappropriation of an image by Mark Titchner. We thank them for these contributions."
- Professor Jo Stockham, Head of Print.
AFTER THE HIGH TIDE
"Who’s in charge of making history? Who is responsible for the fragile and enduring threads that weave together
a world? Where lies the root, the primary cause of the hues of reality?"
So starts ‘After the High Tide’ a speculative fiction by philosopher Dario di Paolantonio written in response to the works of our graduates for a new book published by Folium.
In the 20th century, the photograph was central to the construction of representations, culminating in the society of the spectacle. Here the eye is at the centre of this spectacle, the frame delineates and orders signs and meanings. Working mainly online, our students have experienced another paradigm shift to that of the society of information and communication. The photograph is no longer a physical artefact, but appears on a screen. The instantaneity and immediacy that characterises virtual and digital images encourages a frantic consumption and lack of attention.
Our students had to deal with this paradigm shift, finding ways of slowing down or questioning the ideology of the screen and its neoliberal demand for instant gratification. They have found ways to explore and make use of the visual pleasure that characterises physical pictures in order to propose and develop a critical practice of the still and moving image. Working with and against the fluidity of today’s image world, our students brought some opacity and physicality to our experience of the online world.
Once those who were in the UK were given the opportunity to access our darkrooms and studios, the hunger they brought to their practice was extraordinary. Those still in their home country found myriad ways to resolve their artworks. Our students’ enthusiasm, energy and engagement with the material practices of making, be it photography, film, performance, sculpture or CGI is evident here in the works on show at Cromwell Place.
Each artist has returned to exhibiting in the physical gallery space after months of lockdown, and has met this challenge head on. We celebrate the huge range of dynamic practices from our Photography 2021 graduates and their tenacity, talent and responsiveness.
We would like to thank our Show Lead, Tom Lovelace and his team of students for the incredible work they’ve put into staging this show, along with their collaboration with the Print programme.
- Hermione Wiltshire and Sarah Jones, Acting Co-Heads of Photography
MA Contemporary Art Practice 2021
21 - 25 July
Spread across six galleries within Cromwell Place, the Royal College of Art presents a satellite event for their annual MA Contemporary Art Practice Degree Show, comprising work from their 2021 cohort of students.
Curated by Linda Rocco, the 2021 RCA MA Contemporary Art Practice Graduate Show will take place from 21 - 25 July. A graduate exhibition is the collision of multiple sites of knowledge production, experimentation and processes coming together. The RCA 2021 cohort share their delight that the time spent researching, making, discussing and developing, can now be experienced in a physical form.
Adam Dove, Alessandro Moroni, Amelie McKee, Amy Wright, Anita Agarwal, Anita Marante, Anna Jacob, Ashleigh Williams, Baocheng Ma, Bess Barkholt, Catalina Correa, Chloe Langlois, Cynthia Carllinni, Daniel Hopp, David Head, Ed Hands, Effy Harle, Elena Lo Presti, Eline Tsvetkova, Ewelina Trejta, Georgina Watson, Helga Dorothea Fannon, Iona Mitchell, Isaac Azzopardi, Jamie Murray-Pullan, Jesse May Fisher, Jingwen Xu, Joy Chia-Yu Yeh, Julia Biasi, Kathryn Attrill, Katrine Skovsgaard, Kevin Siwoff, Laura Moreton-Griffiths, Léa Porré, Louise Ørsted Jensen, Luis Tapia, Lulu Wang, Maggie Dunlap, Mathilda Oosthuizen, Melle June Nieling, Muzi Zhang, Paola Estrella, Patrick O'Neill, Qingqing Liu, Rieko Whitfield, River Cao, Sergei Zinchuk, Shinhoo Yhi, Shiting Zheng, Shuning Xu, Tim Skinner, Yana Jiao, Yang Yang, Yuanhui Ding, Yukako Tanaka