A gloomy Monday morning was quickly transformed due to a singular invitation to visit the prestigious art business house, Christie's. This particular invite was courtesy of the British Fashion Council, as their annual Fashion Arts Commission initiative honoured five of the most talented graduates from the Royal Academy Schools. Aiming to invigorate creativity and cultivate collaboration with future talent, all pieces showcased are available for sale with the profits donated to the BFC Fashion Arts Foundation charity, in order to fund the next year’s collaborations.
On arrival, we were greeted by the works of Liam Hodges and Nicky Carvell. Sharp was the first word that sprung to mind at first glance, with laser-cut aluminum being the most apparent medium. Ideas of industrialism and re-build were the inspiration behind these works, with a road trip to LA desert community sites such as “Slab City” and “Salvation Mountain” provoking this concept.
From there we saw Sadie Williams and Carla Busuttil’s installation, touching on the ever so apparent and topical subject of consumer hierarchies. The piece saw the duo cleverly utilizing some of the most expensive Google Adwords on auction. Words such as Lawyer, Blackjack and Mesothelioma were plugged into the search engine, yielding a number of images which were then collaged on textiles through painting, bonding and printing. The tombola like structure gives a nostalgic “old school” spin on the idea, contrasting modern visual and digital methods of production.
It was hard to miss Samuel Ross and Julie Born Schwartz’s project, as an array of draping fabrics from ceiling to the floor made quite the impression. Film media was employed in this particular piece, illustrating the possibilities of light and transparency in reference to layers and structures of clothing itself. The musical score was made post-editing of the film, a piercing score that had the audience stop in their tracks and command attention.
Another powerful installation piece from Paula Knorr and Appau Jnr Boakye Yiadom, our next subject of analysis. The theme here was a play on the different shapes and forms that materials (in particular, fabric) could have depending on viewer perception. An umbrella-like frame could be operated in order to change its size and orientation, whilst a video of a ball dropping from the top of the frame to the bottom played on a loop on a TV that would now be considered reminiscent of the dark ages. Paired with a thumping sound of a drum in an echo chamber, this closely mimicked the sound of a heartbeat, creating a commandeering atmosphere.
Our journey was nearly over, but not before one last visit to the works of Marco Palmieri and Richard Malone, a room that completely engulfed you in vivid and theatrical shapes and colours. Palmieri and Malone make reference to the ambiguity that comes with the term “garment”.
In particular, how we share an intimate but seasonal relationship with the pieces of clothing and furnishings we choose to decorate our lives in. Possessing an emphasis of surrealism, this was an exciting and bold ending to the day.
Writer: Jess Teasdale
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