Abstract painting, sound art about footballers, monochrome drawing projections and large-scale installations all feature in this year’s Slade School of Art undergraduate degree show.
Housed within the iconic University College London building close to Euston Station in north London, the exhibition features 27 exhibiting artists.
Speaking at Friday’s preview, student Leila Hesabi, who is going on to study painting at the Royal College of Art, said: “I have really enjoyed the course and have made some lifelong friends through it.
“We’ve worked incredibly hard and I think it shows in the exhibition. Hopefully there will be lots of visitors and they will like it too. Tonight I think we are all ready to party!”
Fellow student Daria Gitmanovich, who is also moving on to the RCA, said: “It has been a life-changing experience. I feel like I have developed so much over the course and I can’t wait for what happens next. Putting together the show has been a lot of work but I’m really proud of it.”
The curation of jam-packed shows such as this can problematic, with some turning into a jumbled mess. However, the Slade’s students have clearly worked hard to create a balanced space, with works complementing one another.
Both Hesabi and Gitmanovich produce figurative but gestural painting. Housed on the first floor, their work sits well together – much like the majority of the show.
Installation artist Jonas Brinker felt the democratic approach the students took paid dividends. He said: “We all worked together to place work in the most suitable spaces.
“There are obviously some works that sit together better than others and I think we achieved the best outcome. Thankfully there weren’t too many arguments!”
Cost of London
Not all of the Slade’s student are planning to stay in London after graduation. Whether out of necessity or a matter of choice, one thing recurs: the cost of living in London is too high for many emerging artists.
Brinker plans to head home to Berlin. “Basically London is too expensive,” he said. “I can rent a studio and live in Berlin for less than I can here. It’s an easy decision. I have enjoyed being here for three years and will miss the friends I’ve made on the course but we will stay in touch.”
Fellow installation artist Nancy Huang, whose giant cellophane sculpture garnered a lot of attention throughout the evening, is also moving out of London. She said: “I love London and it is a very exciting city but I can further my career for less money elsewhere.”
Huang has decided to move to Spain and study medicine at university. “I will be continuing to practice as an artist but feel going to medical school will help underpin many of the concepts I already deal with in my work. It will also provide me with more security going forward.”
For more on the 2015 degree show season, including Bob and Roberta Smith on what makes this time of year so special and listings for over 75 shows, read the a-n Degree Shows Guide 2015