Bloomberg New Contemporaries at the ICA
New Contemporaries is an organisation, founded in 1949, which aims to support and nurture the work of British art school graduates through the platform of an annual touring exhibition. This year (2012s) show was exhibited as part of the Liverpool Biennial, at the Copperas Hill building, before moving to its current, and final, location at the London Institute of Contemporary Arts.
Open to any current or recent graduate or postgraduate, the works this year have been carefully selected from over 1,200 submissions, and the exhibits include works in a wide spectrum of media, from painting and sculpture, to installation and photography. Due to the nature of the New Contemporaries, all the pieces are recent, created within the last few years, so the viewers really are seeing the freshest new talent and ideas. Like a national pick of the best from degree shows, some pieces appear stronger than others; however, what makes the exhibition so exciting is its diversity. Although the artists must be graduating from art schools within the UK, many have grown up, lived or worked abroad, and it is possible to see the influence of these different cultural backgrounds.
The exhibition includes a varied range of pieces, from Jack Brindley’s simple yet bold Silicone Paintings (2012) to George Little’s deliciously textured installation piece Entrance to the Restaurant (2011-12). One artist whose work commands attention is UAL Wimbledon graduate Nicola Frimpong, whose watercolours portray obscure and perverse scenes featuring characters with bodily mutilations and animal parts.
A highlight of the exhibition is the excellent showreel with pieces by new filmmakers such as Salome Ghazanfari and Evariste Maiga; Improvisation, Pain and Joy (2012), Maiga’s energetic piece, lightens the otherwise serious mood of the reel.
Another captivating film is Simon Senn’s Meadowlands Zone 1 (2010) in which a man is seen travelling through the South African town of Soweto inviting young men to take part in a competition in which they must speak for 20 seconds about their concerns with life in the town, with a prize of 200 rands for the man able to articulate and express his views the best.
As one of the most innovative London exhibitions of the past year, Bloomberg New Contemporaries is highly recommended to anyone interested in contemporary art or the work of emerging artists.