SARA M. WHITE reflects on Banksy and his communication of dissent.   ‘If graffiti changed anything — it would be illegal’ reads Banksy’s mural in Fitzrovia, London. Underneath the crimson writing perches a rat. His paw is mischievously covered in paint. He sneakily looks around as if hoping not to be seen, ready to run away from the ‘crime scene’. To me, this mural represents the essence of Banksy’s work: the necessity of awakening others through rebellion. Indeed, the artist often proclaims his messages through raw, satirical images that speak directly to the modern human conscience and attack its main rivals: the establishment, conformism, war and consumerism.  A clear example of Banksy’s insurrectionary style is his piece against warfare, Crayon Boy, which depicts a child holding a machine gun. He stands in a field of colourful, child-like drawings of flowers, with an expression that is both confused and terrified. The dichotomy…Continue Reading

Concrete Rebellion

WILL FERREIRA DYKE reviews Channel 4’s Grayson’s Art Club. I started 2020 full of anticipation for numerous exhibitions showing across London. From Yayoi Kusama’s Infinity Mirror Rooms at the Tate Modern, to Artemisia at the National Gallery, my artistic taste buds were tingling. However, with many art galleries and institutions having had to justifiably close due to the global pandemic, I felt cheated of my personal art consumption.  Of course, in light of recent events, it is fair to argue that engagement in anti-racist literature supporting the Black Lives Matter movement, as well as keeping safe during Covid-19 , is of greater importance; thus interaction with the art sphere has understandably taken a back seat.  However, now that gallery spaces are gradually beginning to re-open, I have added a slightly surprising additional show to my artistic menu:  the compilation of works from Channel 4’s Grayson’s Art Club, an initiative set up and…Continue Reading

Grayson’s Art Club

JEAN WATT speaks with four creatives who are making bespoke and up-cycled clothing to explore how fashion is slowing down, becoming more personal and more sustainable. Bespoke and commission based brands have been growing in popularity since the dawn of ‘slow fashion’, a term coined by Kate Fletcher in 2007. Combatting the wide-ranging negative effects of the fashion industry, this movement encourages more sustainable work practices and a more personal experience of buying and owning clothes. Artists and creators are up-cycling clothing and fabrics to create unique, handmade pieces which take in to account the resources and processes that go into their production. With many people stuck at home at the moment and feeling inspired to take up their own making as well as buying from smaller businesses, will this lockdown period speed up the progress of slow fashion? I spoke with four creatives about their work and their relationship…Continue Reading

Slowing Down

SHANTI GIOVANNETTI-SINGH discusses the significance of cultural destruction in the exhibition Culture Under Attack at the Imperial War Museum On 15th April 2019, a structure fire tore through Notre Dame de Paris cathedral. The flames spread almost as fast as the media attention which mourned the destruction of one of Europe’s most venerated monuments. As the fire consumed the spire of this 12th century UNESCO world heritage site, donations from both France and the international community flooded in, raising a total of £650 million within ten days. Five people were injured. There were no fatalities. Six days later, on Easter Sunday, a series of terrorist attacks in Sri Lanka left 500 injured and 259 dead. The eight coordinated attacks targeted churches and religious sites throughout the country, notably  St Anthony’s Shrine in Colombo, as well as luxury hotels and housing complexes. Despite a campaign launched by the red cross to…Continue Reading

Culture UNDER ATTACK!

BRUNO REYNELL discusses the common thread in shortlisted Stirling Prize buildings. Earlier this month saw the shortlisting of six buildings for the UK’s most prestigious architecture prize. Awarded annually by the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA), the Stirling Prize takes into account a range of criteria, from innovation and originality to client satisfaction, in order to bestow the accolade of ‘the UK’s best new building’. One of the biggest stories in 2019 within the sphere of architecture has been ‘Architects Declare’. This is a manifesto initially co-signed by 18 Stirling Prize winning UK architectural practices, including heavyweights such as Foster + Partners and Zaha Hadid Architects. ‘Architects Declare’ signals a recognition that buildings and construction contribute significantly to climate breakdown and biodiversity loss, and establishes a set of objectives aiming to mitigate these crises in the future. It is fitting then, that sustainability should be a point of excellence…Continue Reading

2019 RIBA Stirling Prize Shortlist

ENERZAYA GUNDALAI presents the highlights of UCL MODO Fashion Society’s 2019 Show: SENSES. Under the railway vaults of London’s Steel Yard, SENSES showcased MODO’s latest designs. But I, along with the enchanted crowd, was met with more than just clothes; otherworldly beings seemed to surface, governing the living realm for a moment or two. Nathan Vandevelde opened with his two-part exuberant series entitled ‘Spirit Jungle’ and ‘Spirit Jungle pt 2.’ Ethereal sea nymphs took their first steps on land in ‘Spirit Jungle’. They moved gracefully across the runway. Four drag queens with their airy gowns and delicate face masks were prominent features in ‘pt. 2.’ Their bodies were spotlit and dressed in shimmery, figure-hugging tunics. Vandevelde’s tribute to the LGBTQ+ community was both empowering and spectacular in kaleidoscopic ways. While ‘Spirit Jungle’ was dramatic and provocative, it was Vandevelde’s line ‘Soul Searchers’ that made its appearance during the second half…Continue Reading

Sense Me

ESTELLE CIESLA discusses dematerialisation in Yves Klein’s International Klein Blue (IKB). An unframed, unwavering blue painting stands before you. As you stare at the painting, the square of colour slowly detaches itself from its canvas medium, drifting through the air. All at once, blue envelops you, permeates you. Chills crawl under your skin. The ultramarine induces a state of vertigo. An endless, deep, and obsessive ultramarine possesses you; its saturation stains your mind. My first encounter with a Yves Klein painting was decidedly dramatic. Encountering his painting in his hometown of Nice, France, my fascination with the strong, vivid blue was instantaneous. I speak about a specific blue: blue #21177d, otherwise known as International Klein Blue (IKB). The colour is distinctive; once seen, IKB will stay in your mind. The vivid ultramarine became Klein’s signature. The holistic feeling of Klein’s work is palpable every time I come across one of…Continue Reading

Dip-Trip

THOMAS NGUYEN interviews Sharon Yip and Magda Tchorek-Bentall, the director and curator of UCL Anatomy Society’s first-ever art exhibition, Disjointed Anatomies. On Saturday 2nd March, the UCL Anatomy Society will be holding its first-ever art exhibition around the theme: ‘Disjointed Anatomies’. For an entire day, the South Cloisters will transform into a curated display of intersectional works from student of all academic backgrounds. Each artwork will showcase a unique interpretation of the anatomical body. Sharon (Exhibition Director) and Magda (Curator) share their thoughts: Talk me through your roles in organising Saturday’s exhibition. Sharon: We started this project last year when I was elected exhibition director at the AGM of the Anatomy Society. This role did not exist before so I’ve had the freedom to make it – just like the exhibition – largely what I wanted it to be. I started thinking about it in June last year and the concept…Continue Reading

Disjointed Anatomies

KRISTIE LUI examines works from Hyon Gyon’s solo exhibition at the Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art. Scorched holes in fabric reveal layers of burnt turpentine in Hyon Gyon’s thick impasto paint. Her subjects are abstract and emotional. They manifest in an explosive portrayal of energy which combines the use of Korean textiles, Japanese paper, and haunting symbolism. Hyon Gyon is a South Korean painter who received her doctorate from the Kyoto City University of Fine Arts, before going on to practice in New York City in 2013 where she began her indefinite residency. Encompassing two floors in the minimalist space at London’s Parasol Unit Foundation for Contemporary Art, her work comprises of both two and three-dimensional artworks. Gyon’s compositions produce colourful motifs of spirits and demons proliferating ceaselessly across an abstract background. Her works often bridge imageries of the spirit world of Korean or Japanese shamanism, with the human…Continue Reading

Incarnate

ENERZAYA GUNDALAI critiques Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt at the Victoria and Albert Museum. Museums are special places of worship for me. Walking through the European temple-like halls and devoting two hours to a single porcelain jar in the Rijksmuseum, for example, is a joyous experience. Contemplating the reasons as to why curators have placed such objects alongside each other is fascinating. Hence, when I visited the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) to see the ongoing exhibition Videogames: Design/Play/Disrupt, I was ready for an informative, yet playful showcase of a sentimental part of my childhood. I was curious to see how the world’s leading museum of art and design, which houses artworks and artefacts spanning over 5,000 years of human history, would frame these modern-day platforms of entertainment. Seeing how the V&A might add to the growing culture of artistic production within video games is an exciting opportunity for viewers and curators alike.…Continue Reading

All Work and No Play