UCL Slade School of Fine Art BA/BFA show 2012
By George Wigmore, on 31 May 2012
It all started on twitter with rumours about a pyramid in the quad, and a shiny aluminium van nestled neatly underneath the trees; all bright and exotic against the neo-classical façade of the UCL Quad.
Walking towards the Slade School of Fine Art at lunchtime, bits and pieces started to reveal themselves. Between the Portico columns, and steps covered with students enjoying the rare sunshine, Emily Joy Stokes’ Pyramid was just about visible through the mass of bodies. Its stark red geometric lines, and industrial feel, contrasting sharply with the soft grey of the limestone backdrop.
Designed as a reinterpretation of Gaius Cestius tomb in Rome’s non-Catholic cemetery, the piece, according to Emily, was intended to give the “same sense of otherworldliness, of time being out of joint, that I felt when first coming upon the tomb of Cestius in Rome”. It achieves this feeling remarkably well, and I couldn’t get over the slightly surreal nature of a giant red pyramid perched on the Portico.
Despite a few pieces in the Quad, the majority of the exhibition spans all three floors of the Slade, with every foreseeable space occupied with paintings, installations, videos and other mixed-media pieces.
Trying to pigeonhole the exhibition would be too difficult a task, as the vast range of styles on show really surprised me, ranging from classical paintings, to more eccentric mixed-media pieces. But despite the wide range of approaches on offer, paintings seemed to be the most popular medium with the artists and visitors alike.
It was difficult to pick a highlight from this year’s show as the standard was incredibly high, but my favourites included pieces by Chui Yuen Fanny Chan, Erchen Chang and the aforementioned Emily Joy Stokes. All very different in style and form, but equally engaging.
See the gallery below for some of the artwork from the show: