Strange and sublime: Goldsmiths art on show

On Thursday night, hundreds of art lovers visited Goldsmiths in New Cross, to sample the latest offerings from the university famed for creating Turner Prize winners and art superstars.

Jenia Samantsova, Daria Zhigareva, Margal Bakhtiyarova of Akleriah. Photo: Camilla Brown

On Thursday night, hundreds of art lovers visited Goldsmiths in New Cross to sample the latest offerings from the university famed for creating Turner Prize winners and art superstars.

At the degree shows for BA Fine Art and BA Fine Art & History of Art, they saw new work covering a range of disciplines including photography, sculpture, painting, digital media and performance art – all with Goldsmiths’ trademark innovative approach.

With a host of acclaimed alumni under its belt, and frequented by art collectors and dealers looking for the next big thing, the Goldsmiths Degree Show never fails to excite.

Earlier this week, ELL reporter Jade Desumala spoke exclusively to artists from the shows. You can read her report here.

The exhibition will be open to the public between Friday 18th and Monday 21st June. Here is our live blog from the private view held on Thursday night; start from the bottom if you want to read it as it happens.

The Art department's Ben Pimlott Building, Goldsmiths. Photo: Anna Haswell


At 9 pm, the private view is officially over.

Camilla adds a final update: “The fourth floor of the Ben Pimlott Building is buzzing with activity. Thick black curtains shield the artists’ individual installation rooms from the noise and light of the hall. To enter a room feels like entering a micro-world – it’s lovely to sit a while and become absorbed in the creations.”

“David Ashley Pearson’s installation is a beautiful combination of photography, movement, sound, light and dark – I stay and watch it until 9pm when the exhibition ends. The sun is low in the sky and the entire fourth floor is golden. It’s stunning, and a lovely end to an inspiring evening.”


It wasn’t just the extended Goldsmiths family who came to see the show tonight. Reporter Camilla spoke to some students from other London universities who’d made the trek to New Cross to see what was on show.

Courtauld Institute student Andrew Jones, a fan of contemporary art, said he’d seen some ‘genuinely impressive art here,’ and was looking forward to seeing more.

Meanwhile, Sebastian Harding, a first-year Illustration student from Camberwell College, mentioned a couple of artists from the show whose work had really impressed him. “The oil paintings of Shireen Qureshy are really beautiful – technically brilliant and poignant,” he thought. Emmie McLuskey was similarly singled out for praise. “Her work is really interesting and special.” “I’ve tried to attend all the student degree shows because they’re just really inspiring.”


Pictures from Camilla:


Photos from Sebastian, taken on top of the Ben Pimlott Building, and of one of the exhibits.


“Interesting/fun installations: There is a room decorated entirely in thick red hair- on the floor, the walls, the bed, the lampshade. It’s like stepping inside a furball – quite an experience.

The second installation which stood out as unusual was Ryan Run’s work – he has filled a room with two giant fans and seemingly endless amounts of sawdust.

To experience his piece I had to don an oversized jumpsuit, shoe protectors, goggles and a face mask – this is to protect you from the dust, which gets quite intense when the fans are on full speed. it’s like being in an arctic blizzard, but with sawdust.”


Sebastian has arrived with a copy of the main BA Fine Art programme. It’s a meticulously-designed affair, printed tabloid-format on newsprint, with large, luxurious illustrations of work by each artist.


From Camilla: “On the top floor of the Ben Pimlott building I find artist Anna Kompaniets in a magical-looking fairy grotto named ‘The Dressing Room’. The room, which is entirely Anna’s creation, is buzzing with excitement. Anna is perfecting the make-up of fellow artist Lenka Horakova. The two are performing as Akleriah tonight at Goldsmiths After Party. Akleriah is a performance collective, whose aim is to remove the exclusivity of art. Their costumes and make-up look incredible, a perfect example of the inspirational work to be born from Goldsmiths.


A fire alarm in the Richard Hoggart Building? Apparently so, says Sebastian. ELL reporter Daisy concurs: “Corridors filled with paper clips and dance movement therapy sessions interrupted by a fire alarm – one woman said: “Is it a real fire alarm?” She thought it was part of the show.”


“Another screen simply carries the words: ‘Thank you for participating'”


“Amazing corridor of rooms full of strange video installations,” says Terry. “One shows a woman reading what appear to be love letters before tearing them up; in another a figure wearing a weird white headdress stares blankly at the viewer. In a third, a man, barechested, smashes plates.”


First picture of the night! ELL reporter Terry snapped this work (right), ‘Meadow’ by MA Art student Liz White.


“Flags blow in the wind and the party is in full swing outside the Ben Pimlott building where artists mingle with the crowds as they take a break from the busy corridors within.”


“The Kingsway corridor is bright and largely white, with delicate punctuations of colour courtesy of the artists exhibiting here. Some playful pieces such as Zoe Andrews’ ‘The Red Shoes’ – bright red thread dangling from the ceiling with delicate half-formed shapes below – and Natalia Watts’ ‘The Collective Unconcious’ – thousands of paperclips painstakingly arranged into colour-coded cubes.”


“People sit entranced throughout the duration of Natalie Marr’s slideshow of images of neglected industry – soothed by the music of the great singer Roy Orbison, ‘The Pretender.’ Beautiful photography.”


“This is too much for me.” People find Lucy Hutton’s video installation of a close-up of various fluids being poured into an open mouth disturbing. But for as many as it repulses it captivates and there are many crowded in the small room, says Camilla.


From Camilla:

“In the Richard Hoggart building, strange noises are coming from room 219. Andrew Watson’s sound installation comprises of 6 tape recorders mounted on the wall – some record and some simply play. There are 6 microphones picking up the sound from the room and transforming it into this eerie noise. Clever and technically-minded. A merging of science and art.”


Tweeters are at Goldsmiths too! @text_1 says: “Goldsmiths BA show, private view = kid, candystore…..” From @aj: “At the Goldsmiths Degree Show. Drinkable sculpture! (rum) Destruction of a Chapman Brothers! Britart has never been more alive! #1994″


Those who enjoy the works on display can treat themselves to a memento in the form of a beautifully-produced catalogue, available from the BA Art and Art History show for only £1.


Reporter Camilla spoke to Natalie Marr, exhibitor and catalogue coordinator for the exhibition. She says the show has ‘been really full of energy and stress, but it all comes together when everyone’s here and the tutors are too.’ “The sense of satisfaction pushes the stress away.”

Natalie says her work ‘engages with strong emotional responses to the industrial environment.’


If you’re interested in studying Art at Goldsmiths, you can view a short video about the department on the college’s Youtube channel here.


Awards ceremonies for the new grads have been taking place since half past six.


An official catalogue of the exhibition is available online, here. Click on the name of each artist to see samples of their work.


It’s just after six and the Goldsmiths 2010 Degree Show has officially opened. Spirits are high and the sun is shining on this year’s celebration of artistic talent, says reporter Camilla.

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