Saturday, 23 September 2017

Slave/Master at the V&A Museum

I recently had the pleasure of working with two friends, Moin Roberts-Islam and Brooke Roberts-Islam of London-based innovation studio, BR Innovation Agency (BRIA), when they called me in to help design and to build the wooden elements of the set for their latest project, Slave/Master - which runs until Saturday 24th September as part of London Design Festival at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London. Slave/Master combines contemporary dance, cutting-edge robotics and interactive projection graphics in a collaborative performance, with the audience able to roam freely around the installation space, viewing it from all angles.

The time allocated for the construction of the set was pretty tight but the 'innovation destination', Plexal (at Here East, on the Olympic Park site), kindly provided space for the dancers to rehearse, the robotics guys to do their thing, and for me to build the set. I build the two circular dance platforms, the framework for the 7.2 metre by 5.5 metre tall projection screen, the computer desk, and the 4.5 metre wide projectors platform at the back.

On our last day at Plexal the dancers gave a last preview of their routine with the robots (which is where I shot this little video) before we dismantled everything and shipped it all over to the V&A, ready for the following mornings' install. Unfortunately I had to head up to Shropshire straight after reconstructing the set at the V&A, so didn't get to see the performance at the V&A, and the dancers in their costumes, but from what I've seen online it looks amazing.

The concept, costumes and production were devised by BRIA, with projection graphic technology and creative support from Holition and dancers and choreography from the London Contemporary Ballet Theatre. Robotic arms, software, engineering support and sponsorship were provided by KUKA Robotics UK Ltd, Autodesk, Adelphi Automation and SCM Handling.

Thursday, 21 September 2017

Two Days Left of Toy Box Exhibition

I thought that I'd just post a quick reminder that there are now just two days left (Friday 22nd and Saturday 23rd) to see the art exhibition, 'The Toy Box: From Pop to Present' (curated by Jason White), in which I am showing two of my early sculptures, 'Magnet' and 'Baby Kit', at the Civic in Barnsley, South Yorkshire.

As I mentioned in a previous post, the show looks at contemporary artists and designers who use toys as a theme. My work will feature alongside that of Eduardo Paolozzi, KAWS, Jimmy Cauty (English artist and musician, best known as one half of the duo The KLF, co-founder of The Orb, and as the man who burnt one million pounds.), Ron English, Jason Freeny, Sarah Graham, Joe Simpson, Laura Keeble, Campana Brothers, Fyodor Golan, Freya Jobbins, Fabric Lenny, Steve Lovatt, and Julie Newton.

Open Tuesday - Saturday, 10am - 5pm (last admission 4.45pm)

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

RCA Secret 2017 - The Reveal

The Royal College of Art's annual fundraising postcard-sized art sale, RCA Secret 2017, has finally come to an end, so it's now safe to reveal which of the two mini paintings were my contribution to the show. So here you go -

This year's RCA's postcard sale was smaller than in previous years but still featured over 2,000 postcard-sized drawings, collages, photographs and sculptures by some of the world’s most celebrated artists and designers, as well as by promising students from the College.

Every year the RCA Secret attracts high-profile art collectors and passionate art lovers. Each of the postcards on display were sold anonymously for £55, with the identity of the maker revealed only after the purchase was completed, and on the day of collection (this Saturday just gone). All profits from the sale go towards the RCA Student Award Fund, which helps emerging artists at a formative stage in their careers by funding scholarships to the College.

As mentioned in a previous blog post, I created four other mini paintings at the same time as this year's two RCA Secret entries, which I revealed online as a slight clue to the identity if my postcards. One of which being the last piece that you see here.

Monday, 11 September 2017

New 'Improved' RCA Secret 2017

The start of the RCA Secret show seems to have crept up on me this year, which is probably something to do with the fact that I finished and sent off my entries for the exhibition so far in advance. It wasn't until I started seeing tweets about the chaos of the new queuing and entry system to the show, which opened on the 9th September, that I realised it had already started.

I can't remember exactly how many RCA Secret shows I've donated work to but it's definitely been all of the last ones for well over a decade. So here are a few of my entries from years gone by.

In previous years, potential purchasers of the postcard-sized artworks from this annual sale at London's Royal College of Art (where all the artwork, donated by artists, designers and students, is displayed anonymously, until the point of sale) would queue up outside the gallery space for hours, if not days, in order to be one of the first through the doors when they opened on the morning of the sale. And all the postcards would be for sale on that day only. In later years a raffle was introduced, that enabled a few lucky people to jump to the front of the queue, but even so, most of the people who queued early still managed to get some pieces from their list of favourites. 

However, this year a new system was put in place that saw an end to people camping out in front of the gallery, nights in advance, and that spread the sale over several days (from 9-15th September). Also, the purchased cards will not be available for collection until the 16th September, at which point the buyers will be able to find out the names of the creators of said cards. Ooh, the suspense! I suppose it's only fair that I wait until then to reveal which are my two cards from this year's show.

As you can see from the unofficial RCA Secret Blog Twitter page, a lot of people were not happy with this new incarnation of the college's secret postcard sale, and with the chaos of the queuing system once they got into the exhibition space itself. But hopefully all these issues will be ironed out ready for next year's show.

Dyson Gallery

Royal College of Art
Dyson Building
1 Hester Road
London SW11 4AN

Exhibition and Sale

9–15 September
9am – 6pm

Late Opening

11 and 15 September, until 8pm

Collection Day

16 April, 9am