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

INNOKA BARTLETT interviews artist Aysha Almoayyed regarding her exhibition piece at the ArtBAB Pavilion. Aysha Almoayyed’s Lost Paradise was showcased at the 2019 Art Bahrain Across Borders (BAB) Pavilion as part of Bahrain’s International Art Fair that took place in March – Manama, Bahrain. Displayed in the pavilion were selected works by thirty of the most creative Bahraini artists. Born in 1988 in Manama, Bahrain, Aysha Almoayyed studied Marketing at Bentley University. She then completed her MFA in Fine Art at Goldsmiths University. Experimenting with mediums including drawing, photography, and installation her artworks explore societal forces in Bahrain and the transformation of the artificial and natural environment. Almoayyed is the youngest recipient of the most renowned art award in Bahrain, the Al Dana Prize. She shares her opinions on contemporary art in Bahraini culture: –Your work is featured in the ArtBAB Pavilion – what is your interpretation of this idea of ‘Bahrain Across Borders’, and how…Continue Reading

In Conversation with Aysha Almoayyed

ENERZAYA GUNDALAI reflects on the role of technology in art through the Saatchi Gallery’s most recent exhibitions. Nothing can escape the glare of blue light in our digital age. Blue light emanates from every computer, smartphone and television screen. Most will agree that these technologies have become inseparable from our daily existence. Contemporary art has kept pace with these developments. At the Saatchi Gallery, Georgii Uvs utilised ultraviolet (UV) light as a central component in his arwork; within a neighbouring exhibition space, the digital art studio and collective Marshmallow Laser Feast employed virtual reality (VR) headsets in their installation, We live in an Ocean of Air. Both artist and art collective manipulated light through the vehicle of technology in order to shift (and to some extent, control) the viewer’s perspective. Was it the artists’ aim in their use of artificial light to illuminate the direction of fine art in the…Continue Reading

Bluelight

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

SEEHAM RAHMAN examines femininity and sexual politics in Polly Nor’s satirical illustrations. Sensuality, identity, and femininity are not new phenomena in illustration and storytelling. However, the modern woman of the 21st century represents an evolution of womanhood on an individual and societal basis. Art and design are not only articulating this social change but also actively engaging with it in pursuit of strengthening the perception of femininity. As a woman of colour, I often find it difficult to find myself represented in Western Art in a three-dimensional way. Polly Nor’s art speaks to the faults of my identity, bringing forth the wholeness of who I am. Even my demons are depicted as they really are, next to sensuous depictions of womanhood. My femininity is encapsulated; my fears revealed. The artist urges women to understand the toxicity of the internet-age through pieces such as In Your Dreams. Nor encapsulates the anxieties and responsibilities…Continue Reading

Polly Nor and The Nasty Woman

MARCELA KONANOVA reviews Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde at the Barbican Art Gallery. Laced with elements of originality, Modern Couples: Art, Intimacy and the Avant-garde offers a unique insight into intimacy in relationships. Paramount figures in European Modern Art explores the bonds that negotiate their creative processes. As opposed to many current exhibitions devoted to the development of a work of a single artist, Modern Couples understands art production as an organic process fuelled by the human connection. The rise of Modernist art styles from the late-19th to mid-20th century is seen as the product of the inevitable collaboration and influence rather than the product of a solo genius. ‘Couple’ is an elastic term encompassing all manner of intimate relationship that the artists themselves grappled with. It was not defined exclusively as monogamous, but inclusive of polyamory, friendship, or any relationship defined by devotion. Each couple brings to…Continue Reading

Love Making Art

INNOKA BARTLETT interviews co-curator of Bahrain Art Week 2018, Kaneka Subberwal. Kaneka Subberwal’s elegant articulations of thought, as revealed in this interview, was reflected in her recent co-curation of Bahrain Art Week 2018. The founder and co-curator of Art Select and Bahrain Art Week discussed the depth and intricacies of ‘Accumulation: Legacy and Memory’, the title and theme of the exhibition. This idea of accumulation unfolded throughout the exhibition, as artworks explored concepts of built up legacies of loss, and the memories of traditional as well as contemporary Bahrain. Kaneka founded Art Select in 2008, an art consultancy and creative platform. ArtBAB (Art Bahrain Across Borders) is Art Select’s flagship enterprise. It is an annual art fair that is aimed at exhibiting Bahrain’s Modern Art movement, tracing its development over the past 50 years. Bahrain Art Week is a project which was generated under ArtBAB. It seems to be cumulative…Continue Reading

The Legacies and Memories of Bahrain