PRINT MA RCA
A couple of days ago, I visited the Degree Show at the Royal College of Art on their Battersea campus: all those letters bring back some sweet, sweet memories. They’re undergoing a bit of renovation and have various sites for different programs, but I led myself down to find the Print bits.
For those of you that don’t know, a degree show is when the students finish their last year of University when doing a ‘practical’ degree and they show off all their stuff to mums/dads/brothers/sisters/investors/press/general public. The RCA offers Postgrad studies for a whole load of really cool shit, but this campus housed Ceramics & Glass, Contemporary Art Practice, Critical Writing in Art & Design, Curating Contemporary Art, Jewellery & Metal, Painting, Photography, V&A/RCA History of Design AND OF COURSE, Print.
It’s an extremely exciting place to visit because all of the students work from the last two years culminate in this ONE MASSIVE show. Everyone is buzzing that they’ve completed all their exams and all they have to do is show people their work and think about what they’re going to do now for the next 60 years or so of their life.
I took some quick snaps, but they don't do the work justice, so I would really recommend having a mosey. Most of the time it’s quite difficult to gauge where all the work’s at and what it’s saying because there are so so so many artists all in one space together. You sometimes accidentally trip over things lying about and you're never 100pc sure if it's art, or remnants from the party the night before. If you’re emotionally invested in an artist, it’s much easier to appreciate their work so looking around so many artists all in one space can be quite overwhelming.
To give the work a brief introduction, Jo Stockham (head of Print) mentioned:
‘Print are a material lot, invested in the stuff of the world, and the body which inhabits that world.’
If you keep that broad sentence in mind as you wander around the work, it’s easier to understand where some of the work is at. The Print students wrote a little introduction themselves:
‘The Print class of 2018 are reflective, political, engaged and a self-critical lot - all our work having meaning, significance and often a deeply personal connection to our own histories, identities and place in the world.
Some of these meanings are deeply layered and coded, as is appropriate in the age of ‘fake news’. Reproduction multiplies and fragments meaning.
Nevertheless, catching you off-guard, lies intelligent dark humour and wry playfulness. Life experiences, relationships weight our own bodies and those of others, cultures, memories, sense of place, the ephemeral, joy and sorrow are just some of the themes which are common to many.
You will find nothing is done half-heartedly or without intention as we ask the viewer to look deeply, to reassess what they know to be true, and to caress with their eyes. In a world so saturated by ‘poor’ imagery, as defined by Hito Steyerl, then what is it to commit a considered image into the world?
The show is on until the 1st July: GO AND CHECK IT OUT.
12-6pm Daily, Free Admission.