the season of graduation shows - Central Saint Martins

Central Saint Martin MAFA Show

This is the last year Central Saint Martin MAFA graduates would have their graduation show in Charing Cross Road. Course Director Joanna Greenhill would be leaving th school as well this year. While nobody knows what would happen when the school re-opens next year in the transformed Granary & Transit Shed in King's Cross, we could all look back in what the MAFA students have done in the past year to mark the end of an era -

the show poster - lacks the eccentricity and edge of an art school in London?

The followings are some of the interesting finds in the show -

Josh Baum's Installation (flash clip)

a corner of the MFA show - video link

Walking up & down the Charing Cross Road building, you cannot stop reminiscing the student life in this historic block would be disappeared forever - 

panorama of internal courtyard - video link

And the luxury of being in the centre of West End, the sweeping panoramic view across the city from almost every windows facing outside is argurably the greatest asset of being a CSM student!

Full photo set

Let's hope CSM future students would have an even-brighter life in the regenerated neighbourhood, together with its many sparkling neighbours such as St Pancras Station, Kings Place, Gagosian Gallery & the Regent's Canal!

Further Readings -
Official page for CSM MFA Show 2010
Official website for Central Saint Martin
A preview of CSM's King's Cross campus opening in 2011
CSM Time #7 - King's Cross Special
Gwen Yip's blog - Working Holiday in London

dalston re-visited

After the first thursday art walk 2 weeks ago stopping by Dalston, we headed down to the area again last saturday after some art explorations and ran into the afternoon delight of the Portavilion touring in Gillet Square.

Full photo set here
We then went over to the Dalston East Curve Garden (Dalston Barn) and found the workers were working on the furniture right there -

Full photo set here
And we found some gorgeous graffiti at the garage behind the garden as well this time, perfect under the bright summer sun -

What a lovely neighbourhood!

first thursday july

Hartwell Street, Dalston

First Thursdays is an initiative of keeping east london's numerous art galleries & museums to open late every first thursday of the month for visitors to enjoy art in a relaxed manner after work. Many galleries would organise private views or special events to co-incide with the occasion to add a little bit more exposure to their artists and shows.

The Whitechapel Gallery would also organise a guided bus tour for selected venues around the area on the day. Some are selected for People may not normally know some of these galleries due to their remote locations or pop-up nature.


Group Show - A Bright and Guilty Place

by Dan Hays

Payne Shurvell is a new gallery at the 'hinterland' of Bishopgate Tower in east London. Run by James Payne & Joanne Shurvell, its debut group show has a range of art in different media.  James Payne, a graduate of Central St Martins, is a working artist, curator and the film editor of Garageland magazine.  Joanne Shurvell, former Communications Director at the Institute of Contemporary Arts, is a freelance arts writer and arts marketing consultant.


Yudangami (2009) by Tabaimo

Parasol brings the first UK solo show of Japanese artist Tabaimo to London. With 3D animation beginning to take the world of entertainment, Tabaimo's traditional 2D animation is like a time-traveller journey to the eyes of the gallery-goers. The gallery staff said that she draws every slide of her video work and compose the music by her own self as well. Her works illustrate the typical social phenomena in contemporary Japan, which is many ways have influence cultures around the world through its technology and culture exports such as, needless to say, manga.

Interview of the artist by Moderna Museet, 03.02.2009

Projected images which Lang has taken around the venue/neighbourhood in the past few weeks

Gallery owners Squid & Tabernacle (left & middle) watching Liane Lang (far right) explaining her work to the audience

The next stop is Dalston, and we're at an empty yard area around Hartwell Street where Squid & Tabernacle's pop-up gallery & the Dalston Barn are situated. Liane Lang's photography is on projection inside a container at the yard. She expressed her joy to us when speaking of the project to take photos around the space. Because of the transient nature of the space, the physical settings change every minute so anything she captured could be gone the next time she came back.

Dalston Barn

The Dalston Barn co-ordinator (please leave comment on his name if you know, thanks) introduces the project to visitors

This is a community project which involves local volunteers and talents to materialise a park/event space/passage connecting different parts of the neighbourhood. A truly meaningful project which provides a sense of belonging ad ownership.

Dalston Barn - video link



Momoko Suzuki (鈴木桃子) creating her piece on the wall as we visited the gallery

WW's Debra Wilson and Chiara Williams are both practising and exhibiting artists and have also curated a number of successful exhibitions, on and off-site, including a collateral event at the 53rd Venice Biennale and featured several times in TimeOut First Thursdays.

This group show has a selection of works from 17 artists with the theme "Time". The 17 time-keepers and chroniclers in this exhibition explore the theme through sculpture, painting, video, photography, print, drawing, installation and time-based performance.

Japanese artist Momoko Suzuki was creating site-specific pencil drawing in the gallery at the time we are visiting. The sense of motion of the pattern she drew resembles a fleet of jellyfish in the water. It enhances the art flavour of the space and make it more like an artist's studio than a victorian house.

The Koukan gallery is currently showing her work until 23.07. 


Full photo set here

Further Readings -
The Big Society begins in Dalston by Keiren Long for the Evening Standard, 30.06.2010
Parasol Unit's official twitter
WW gallery's official twitter

a dish served with a view

Studio East Dining Tour

Bistrotheque's owner (white shirt in the middle) and Carmody Groarke (on the left crossing his arm) explain the concept and challenges of the pop-up restaurant

Diners' view on the Aqautic Centre & the Olympic Stadium

The special morning viewing tour of Studio East Dining at EWestfield Stratford's pop-up restaurant next to the 2012 Olympic construction site on a very sunny day is a fabulous programme of many other ones in the London Festival of Architecture. 

Carmody Groarke, the designer of the space, talked about how he managed to pick construction waste around to build this within 8 weeks from sketch. The outcome is admirable, although it seems a little bit resembling to Guggenheim Bilbao in its outlook. The interiors is arranged such that each "arm" that stretches out from the centre frame a view to the diners. 

Panorama inside the restaurant - video link

It have a sense of excitement to view the hype of construction in the stagnant economy of London. Perhaps that is the most valuable dish offered by the restaurant - a dose of optimism, in the age of chaos.

Full photo set here

Further Reading -
Official website of the Restaurant

interview with zachary eastwood-bloom

from the artist's flickr page 
© Zachary Eastwood-Bloom

1. Can you talk a bit about how your art work begin? For instance, where do you start on pursuing this idea of 'space poetics'?
I have always been fascinated by the environment around me, how objects interact with each other, specifically buildings and the spaces they create. I was very lucky to study in three very different types of area, starting in industrial Yorkshire, going on to the classically inspired surroundings of Edinburgh and finally ending up in London’s metropolis. Each place has a very different feel and has inspired different bodies of work but the core enquiry remains the same, the resonance of object and space.




Works in progress in studio - from the artist's flickr page © Zachary Eastwood-Bloom

2. Are there any particular influences throughout your artistic career, e.g. other artists, certain types of music, certain social phenomenon etc.?

The ceramicist Martin Smith was a huge influence from the age of 18 and 10 years later he became one of my tutors at the RCA, he has absolute control over what can be a material with will of its own.  Artists such as Richard Serra, Richard Deacon, Anish Kapoor and Peter Randall-Page have a monumental and yet investigative quality in their pieces which works beautifully. The scale of my work is something I would like to develop in the next few years.

 have never really considered music a direct influence upon my work until recently when I did a video piece with my brother who composes music, but music so often conveys some of the atmosphere I am trying to convey in my work, I’m think of artists such as Johann Johannsson and Steve Reich.

Black Folds at the RCA show 2010

3. Your works are partly materialised by employing digital technology, and they reflect this on their outlooks. How do you think about the relationship between technology and art? Do you think it helps you to bring out the message you want to say or do you sometimes struggle to find a way to interpret your feelings through technology?

Information Ate My Table at the RCA show 2010

"Making Of" video from the artist's flickr page © Zachary Eastwood-Bloom

The use of digital processes came about because I was looking into ideas of the real and the virtual and this hybridised space that is created somewhere between each idea, a space that we increasingly exist in. The digital processes I have used are used by designers on a daily basis but rarely by sculptors so this is a fairly fresh area of investigation, in some ways it feels as if there is a slight fear or mistrust of the digital in a sculptural context, there are artists such as Antony Gormley and Annie Cattrell who do explore digital process, but it is a minority. The relationship between art and technology is interesting because with each new technology a new context for works becomes available, how long will it be before artists sell works through the iPhone app store? For me employing digital technology works perfectly, I can be exacting and experimental at the same time.

4. Many established artists nowadays do not 'make' works by themselves any more and instead hire assistants to do that for them. Would you consider working with other people to create 'your' art? And do you think it is a new approach of art which is viable in future?

I have to work with others to make my work, I don’t yet have the luxury of owning my own rapid 您的瀏覽器可能無法支援顯示此圖片。 prototyping machine or CNC milling machine. I have done a lot of work at Object studios 
in north London working on milling aesthetics and making models, Information Ate My Table was made there as well as the models for the Folding Space series. For 21st Century Landscape Triptych it took four people to make each component because the material cured extremely quickly, so I envision working with assistants in the future. I think there can be a stage where your ambition 您的瀏覽器可能無法支援顯示此圖片。 outweighs you abilities but I wouldn’t like to get to the point like Jeff Koons or Damien Hirst where you almost become a manager of your studio and not get your hands dirty. The managerial approach to art production works for artist who are in high demand but not necessarily for every artist.

Echo Shift (Bronze) at the RCA Show 2010

5. Do you have any future plans? What's next?

At the moment I am moving studio so as soon as I have the space I will be continuing this body of work. Information Ate My Table will be exhibited during design week in September and I am currently discussing future exhibitions with a couple of galleries for later this year and next year. I would love to get some public art and architectural commissions and make some larger monumental pieces.

Thanks Zac for spending the time for the interview and sharing his production images with us.



the season of graduation shows - RCA

RCA Show 1

It is summer. It is the season of graduate shows with exciting designs by new fresh talents lining up for your eyes to enjoy. Here are some of the picks seen in RCA Show 1(in no particular order) -


A Practiced Place by Sun Ju Lee

Echo Shift by Zachary Eastwood-Bloom - favourite ceramics!

Evasion by Annabel Wightman - favourite lighting! (maybe it's not about the lights but don't care...)

Moving Stories I by Matthew Raw

Les Amants (Cascade) (2009) by Noemie Goudal - favourite photography!

Aletheia (2010) by Darren Harvey-Regan

Full photo set here

In case you missed Show 1, Show 2 will be starting soon. Be sure you'll catch it this time!

Further Readings -
Official page for RCA Show 2010
RCA Fashion Show 2010 by Hilary Alexander for the Telegraph, 10.06.2010

the gormley spectacle

Test Sites by Antony Gormley
White Cube Gallery (Mason's Yard)
till 10.07.2010

Breathing Room III (2010)

Antony Gormley's latest show is impressive, but lacking the lustre of a major artistic breakthrough.

At the ground floor of the gallery, a series of cast iron blockwork figures (like the one showing on the flyer below). Unlike his signature self-cast series, this set is more abstract and does not confine to his body dimensions. Instead they are of random proportions locally yet one can still easily figure out the parts of body at each sculpture. The official press release says these block works show "a tension which is indicative of our urban-bound human condition".

At the basement a single piece of installation has occupied the whole exhibition space. As some critics say it has a very "Tron" feel to it. From the gallery people we spoke to the installation consists of 15 hollow rectangular blocks which has a total volume equivalent to that of the exhibition space it is placed. The block frame is coated with fluorescent paint that can absorb ambient light and re-emit them when the surroundings go dark. Like a giant tanning booth, visitors are allowed to walk freely in and out of the blocks. And every 15 minutes of so the spotlights hung right below the ceiling are switched on temporarily to 'charge' the frames.

Official flyer

While one can foresee the popularity of Gormley would bring queues to the gallery in every weekend running up to the end of the show, it seems the works shown this time could not produce a powerful impact on the viewers compared to the artist's works in the public realm instead.

The abstracted bodies are of various different forms which makes it hard to relate them to the viewers compared to those casted by Gormley's own body.The blocks themselves are all covered with rust, similar to the style of Richard Serra. Previous cast bodies Gormley created are very personal but the randomly formed figures in this show are trying something new which is yet to have the same visual impact.

The glowing matrix at the basement looks like the previous site-specific piece by Cerith Wyn Evans showing at the same space. Both works has the element of changing illumination. And the spotlights fueling the glow in Gormley's work is ironic - people go to indoor tanning booths to get tanned rather than going to the parks or beaches; while Gormley's work situated in a commercial gallery have to rely on artificial simulation to create a physical environment (compared to his public art which are directly situated in an activated environment not controlled by any individual).  

For those preparing to visit the gallery for the show, it is likely that you would have to queue for entry to the basement as the gallery has limited the number of people getting into the space for the experience. And once you are in, remember to stay until you experience the moment which the spotlights charge the fluorescent paint of the matrix - it is worth the wait!

Further Reading - 
Review by Laura McLean-Ferris for the Independent, 04.06.2010
Official page of the exhibition at White Cube Gallery's website

travelogue - ARTHK10


ARTHK & Vinexpo Asia Pacific together in Hongkong last week

ARTHK is a rare event open to the public in the city that still has the international mix in terms of ambience & audience after the former british colony has returned to China. Since its debut in 2008, the event has readily emerged from various art fairs around the world and become an important event in the calendar of the art world thanks to the growing wealth of the asian (mainly chinese) buyers and art collectors in the region.

The followings are some of my observations being the 1st time attending the event physcially -

1. There's not enough space, or maybe too many people - 

At the preview night, it is simply impossible to navigate as the 'not-so-wide' passages between booths are flooded with people. And from the comments of many local visitors to the fair throughout the weekend, ARTHK needs to get more space next year if they are growing bigger & bigger. The organiser may think that the compact layout could create a sense of market-place with crowded buyers, but they should not forget that it is Asia here, which 'speed and efficiency' are regarded as king as well. If people are consistently obstructed by other visitors when viewing the art pieces or find the space too suffocating to walk through, they may not return next year.

Singapore's own art fair is rumoured to debut next year, it is quite obvious that they would provide a more relaxed atmosphere if ARTHK continues to perform as such.

2. Damien Hirst & Julian Opie are everywhere that you can't possibly escape from seeing a few of their works - 

This re-affirms their 'super-star' status and at the same time demonstrates that once again in the young asian market many buyers are still looking for brands rather than substance. I'm not saying Damien's or Julian's works are all bad, but in a prominent fair facing their potential clients directly face-to-face, isn't that a better way to present some of your gallery's new talents than showing something everyone has known already and available everywhere as well? Perhaps there is some sort of sales tactics there which I don't know too much, or are they just trying to get some quick cash by providing more best-selling products to the consumers? 

3. Quite a number of galleries from London have made themselves there -

'Some Days Aren't the Same' by Sarah Bridgland at the Man&Eve booth

In fact, over 150 galleries from 29 countries are in the exhibition hall. For the London galleries, big names such as Gagosian, Lisson, White Cube, Other Criteria and Hauser & Wirth are all well-stocked with full range of collections. Man & Eve, Pilar Corrias, Rokeby and Paradise Row have made it to the Art Future Galleries category which are a collection of 16 young art galleries featuring up & coming artists.

4. Special commissions and events are scatter around the venue -

Installation to the ceiling

Yoshitomo Nara's works by Marianne Boesky Gallery

Hongkong i-phone orchestra performance led by artist Samson Young & Keitai Girl performance "Hong Kong Wonderland" directed by Noriko Yamaguchi - video link

5. Off-site events and satellite shows are everywhere in the city as well, below are a few just to name -

'Angel with a mission' - solo show by Guangci 瞿廣慈香港個展《飛天使者》

Full photo set here

'Hope & Glory' - curated by Simon Birch

Full photo set here

A collaboration of Acconci studio & Ai wei wei, installation at Para/Site - video link

6. It seems the organiser has not really engaged in social networking on its own to promote the fair -

While almost a dozen of official partners listed on all propaganda materials of the fair are media entities, it is a stark contrast to see the buzz created on paper & screens by these enthusiastic partners and the 42 tweets generated by the official twitter throughout 3 months! Perhaps the difference is due to limited resources, and it seems to be a common problem - Art Basel's official twitter has only 41 tweets from debut till now! Another weird twitter practice for ARTHK is they change to another account this year! it's @ARTHK last year, and @ARTHK10 this year. Why?!

7. Finally, anyone knows who is the campaign creator for this year's propaganda? This neon-sign visual is just so hongkong & cool!!

Some of our favourites -

by Lionel Bawden at Grantpirrie's booth

A moving installation (grateful if anyone can provide details of this piece) - video link

'Sweet Valentine' by Jeon Joonho

'Dao Gives Birth to One' by Hung Keung, one of the winners of the Hong Kong Contemporary Art Biennial Awards 2009 「道生一」- 洪強, 「香港當代藝術雙年獎 2009」得獎作品

Full photo set here

Further Readings -
10 Things to See during ArtHK by Alexandra Seno for Wall Street Journal, 20.05.2010
The Next Basel?: High Hopes Crackle at ArtHK's Vernissage by Sarah Douglas for, 27.05.2010
Art Sales: sleeping giant awakes in the East by Colin Gleadell for the Telegraph, 25.05.2010
Two women reshapes hongkong's art scene by Gareth Harris for, 29.05.2010
Interview with ARTHK's Director Magnus Renfrew by Tamara de Guzman for Asia Tatler, 26.05.2010 (video)
ARTHK10's official twitter

interview with martin lau


1. Can you talk a bit about how your art work begin?

I've always been drawn towards wanting to convey my emotional experiences in one art form or another. This started from when I was a small child, and wanted to translate my dreams into films, stories and plays.

2. From your website, you have crossed into various disciplines from photography to film to scuplture. What makes you to choose this multimedia path in your artistic career?

Tying in with your first question, as the completed artwork is always connected to a subjective experience in life, the medium, or the "craft" if you like is the pathway from one to the other - it's the means, rather than the end. I'll use whatever medium is appropriate to get the emotions across.

3. What inspires you to come up with the theme of this upcoming show - "Covered City"?

Man-made landscapes, construction and dereliction are long-term interests of mine. But very specifically, "Covered City" was inspired by stumbling across the huge "Noho" development in Fitzrovia at a stage when it was covered in scaffolding sheeting. I was quite awestruck by being in the midst of these shrouded towers, which I think of as "ghosts of the future", in that their finished form is yet to be revealed. They possess a form that is there incidentally rather than by design in a visual sense, nominally there to protect the works going on underneath, but having an aesthetic of their own. This served as the catalyst for taking note of other covered structures, though in the final exhibition, many are of that first construction site.

4. How do you feel about London in general as a platform for artists? What is the best parts of that and what makes you frustrated?

Whatever I might say now about that will probably be out of date by tomorrow. London is such an endlessly changing kaleidoscope physically, socially and culturally that it's hard to say much about it in general. Depending on where you are,  it can seem that you can't move for art and artists one moment, and then the next you're in a cultural desert without a gallery, theatre or library to be found. With art, as in many other areas, it's great that London offers so many opportunities. At the moment I'm finding that East London in particular has a thriving scene where people are interested in creating and seeing artwork. But it can be hard to get your work seen and appreciated beyond that niche, and when you're immersed in it there's a risk of losing perspective, with the result that you could end up preaching to the choir. Striking a balance between this and going for the lowest common denominator is a constant struggle.

5. Do you have any future plans? What's next?

I am planning the next show which will be a series in collaboration with another photographer, and further photographic series with a more narrative bent. I am also co-writing a feature film script.

Martin will be at the no-id gallery from 2-6pm on Sunday 23.05.2010 for his latest show, with other viewing times available by appointment.
(Image courtesy of Martin Lau and copyright reserved for the original author himself)

an international evening on first thursday...

First Thurdays is an initiative support by Art Council England to promote art in East London. On every first thursday of each month, galleries and museums open later than usual well beyond office hours to give the public an opportunity to experience art and performances across the area. It is a great way to enjoy a thursday night, and last week we checked out 2 places showcasing the fact that London is a truly international city -


Distance & Sensibility
Calvert 22 Gallery
Till 13.06.2010

Calvert 22 has teamed up with David Thorp to curate this multimedia show which focuses on how migration in this ever-globalising world brought inspiration to artists who live elsewhere from their home towns. The artists presented are all from Eastern Europe (except Lily Markiewicz) and now live in London. 

'Museum Vocabularies (1966-1992)' by Marysia Lewandowska

'Museum Vocabularies (1966-1992)' by Marysia Lewandowska

Live performance by Margarita Gluzberg


Counterpoints: Jia Aili & Lu Chunsheng
Rivington Place
till 15.05.2010

Rivington Place is bringing Chinese artists Jia Aili (贾蔼力) & Lu Chunsheng (陆春生) to the European audience. This is the 1st solo show for Jia and the video work from Lu presented is a european premiere.

Jia Aili's work

Jia has utilised the transparent and extrovert nature of the space and created 3-dimensional pieces travelling across walls & floors in the gallery -

Jia Aili's work

Jia Aili's work

Overview of Jia Aili's work in Project Space 1, Rivington Place. video link

Here is a video work of Lu Chunsheng found online (not the one showing in Rivington Place) -

Curve which can cough(会咳嗽的曲线)

Further Readings -
First Thursdays art map
Official page for Distance & Sensibility in Calvert 22 website
Official site of Rivington Place
Official website of Jia Ai Li
'Artist Margarita Gluzberg on how she draws' from the Guardian, 19.09.2009
'The Plot Folds: An Interview with Margarita Gluzberg' by Peter Carty for Mute, 29.10.2008
'A walk in the Life of Jia Aili' by Karen Smith for the New York Arts, issue sep/oct 2007
'History of Chemisty Vol. 2 by Lu Chun Sheng' from, 19.12.2006