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Friday, June 18, 2010

Contemporary, and fine, art at the Royal Latin School

Spotted my first two 100% unadulterated installations this evening at the Royal Latin (see video). Both presented an enagaging and complex narrative and showed a confident understanding of contemporary practice they also smelled interesting (cigarrette butts and old wood and leaves). One, a  shed (coffin?) made of doors, was evocative, thought provoking and really impressive.

In the next room contemporary practice was balanced by studies from Caravagio and a Zeotrope (first created in China around 180 AD by the prolific inventor Ting Huan ). Then just balanced on a window frame was a tiny painting of a fragment or fragment of a painting which was a delight.

Talking to the headteacher (who had come to see the exhibition) we discussed house styles. It seems to me that this is less of a feature in many of the exhibitions I have seen this year. Indeed there are many similarities between schools. The large portrait is rather commonplace and most exhibitions seem to have some of these. Some schools do, of course, have particular strengths which successive generations of students do respond to. But there is little evidence of excessive teacher direction, or of work drawn exclusively from a narrow range of genres, or school of artists. One strength of the Royal Latin has been in the use of wire to define space. This year there is a delightful wire and butterfly piece (see video). Other sculpture invited you to lie down under a table to look at the stars.

This is serious and thoughtful work developed from the study of a wide range of artists ancient and modern. Students are also prepared to take risks. But they pay off. So it was good to hear about a student who I remember had made an wonderful sculpture - a ballet dress exhibited at MAD in 2007 - had just succeeded in getting a placement with Vivienne Westwood.

Royal Latin Grammar School from Dan China on Vimeo.

1 comment:

sophie leach said...

It is rare to see such a wide variety of work from such a variety of settings. It's been incredibly well documented. There are many teachers and students who would draw much inspiration from seeing and reading this blog. Would you consider making a link to this in some way on the National Society for Education in Art and Design's website?