Exhibition Visit – British Art Show 8

A collection of work by 42 current British artists using wide ranging mediums should have given a lot of options to excite and inspire me, but resulted in an exhibition which I found thoroughly underwhelming.

Although I only dipped into the films, these mostly did look interesting, beautifully shot and pared very well with very intense soundtracks, which were often aimed at distorting reality. However, the other work seemed dull and pointless. A few examples below:

Anthea Hamilton’s plastic covered billboard type images with a built in ant farm – what? There was no evidence of craftsmanship in these pieces and as far as I could tell, it didn’t mean anything either.

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Nicolas Deshayes sprayed expanding foam to look like intestines – why? They looked like someone had randomly sprayed expanding foam, presumably exactly what he did to produce them. I guess I rebel against this type of work for two reasons, firstly the initial impression it gives is one which is slightly revolting (similar to if he has used actual intestines), secondly, the lack of physical moulding/sculpting/craftsmanship. I’m sure that to get this simple shape he probably had to practice different ways of spraying expanding foam until he achieved what he wanted, but there is a lack of involvement in the work (letting it form itself) which I find lazy. Maybe I feel that if the artist can’t be bothered to get stuck into the creation of a sculpture, why should I be bothered to view it?

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Jessica Warboys image was a similar theme, this time using natural phenomena to produce her work. She used pigment on sea-soaked canvas and allowed the waves and wind to determine the resulting image. This was an interesting idea, but the photograph actually makes it look better than it was and overall it just looked a little drab.

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If you hold the opinion that ‘modern art is all rubbish’, then this exhibition will do nothing to change your views. Overall, nothing really grabbed me in this exhibition and it was quite disappointing. There seemed to be a lack of imagination as well as a lack of skill/talent in its production. The best bit for me was overhearing a question to one of the staff there “Is this art, or is it just tissues?” – The reply was that it was art, but I could understand why it was questioned!

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