Thursday, 21 June 2012

Show RCA 2012 - Battersea's underpowered station

My trip to the Royal College of Art student summer show in Battersea today was an altogether depressing affair.
I'm untutored in art other than an interest that is already 50 years old. I'll admit to a preference for painting (abstract or realist, it's a broad church) and little enthusiasm for video.
I approach each art work with I like to think an open mind hoping to be moved but ready to settle for being engaged. You're free to disagree with this assessment.
In Battersea I visited four sites and toured the photography, printing making, and sculpture sections without finding anything to make me dally. So too the poor-cousin painting entries. Only the design area had any vibe.
Perhaps the fault is mine; but I suggest the error is elsewhere. If the inflated price tags of the works are a guide, the students enjoy massive egos. So they don't deserve any benefit of the doubt that they are just starting out.
There are questions I'd like to ask their teachers.
How is it possible to bring together so many artists working in so many different mediums and all share the same irrelevance? It's as though some invisible hemisphere descended on Battersea, which has isolated the college in time and space
It's easier to say what average students aren't interested than what they are. Certainly the political world - Western economies on the brink, the Occupy movement, the Arab Spring - has passed them by.
So if anger isn't a spur, what about sex? They're students and I presume with red blood in their veins. But the works are passionless and curiously asexual.
Colour then? shape? those artistic keystones. Yes, well, occasionally there's a nod but nothing to catch the breath.
If this is the swing of the pendulum moving away from the Saatchi school of sensationalism, then it's gone too far.

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What do you think? GC