The Royal College of Art Curating Contemporary Art Shows 2020

The RCA announces five distinct MA Curating Contemporary Art graduate exhibitions that will go live online on Monday 15 June, at 12.00 (BST) accompanied by a public programme online between 15 – 21 June.
Graduate Projects online cca2020.rca.ac.uk

As an MA programme internationally recognised for its approach to collaboration, our understanding and practice of this in the curatorial context was fully tested and expanded with the start of the pandemic in March. In such extraordinary circumstances and uncertain times, working with over 27 artists to develop commissions, performances, writings, and project documentation was both daunting and galvanising as the projects moved online.

With a shared recognition of the challenge and opportunity to learn and shape this new present together, students, partners, and artists thoughtfully and energetically worked together to create these five projects. As the partners’ comments highlight, all of the projects this year have contributed to the ever more urgent call and need to demonstrate and support the role and value of creative practice in the making of meaning, place and community.

Further information on each project below.

Royal College of Art  FAD MAGAZINE
Vishal Kumaraswamy, #algorithmictruth, 2016-2018. Image credit: Vishal Kumaraswamy.

Furtherfield, Empathy Loading www.furtherfield.org
Empathy Loading is a transdisciplinary online art project inquiring into affective relationships between humans and non-humans. Featuring a newly commissioned online artwork, alongside creative propositions, interviews and new writing, the project reflects upon the interweaving of synthetic and organic worlds to consider alternative systems of care for and with technology.

Artists: Friendred, Elisa Giardina Papa, Vishal Kumaswamy, Marie-Eve Levasseur, Allison Parrish
MA curators: Eve Miller, Haseeb Ullah Zafar, Huanzhi Zhang, Liane Du, Maria Cynkier, Sakhi Gokhale, Vanessa Wang

Visual identity: Studio Hyte
Find out more here: www.rca.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/cca-shows-2020-empathy-loading

“As the only born-digital commission in the Graduate Project programme, working with the group of CCA curators was an opportunity for Furtherfield to share skills and to support in the development of a project that had been conceived to occupy the digital realm from the outset. The collaboration with RCA students opened the organisation to new artists and fruitfully provocative practices. Their curation presents a field of contemporary art that examines the very substance of our lives online and communicates with verve the importance of its insights worldwide right now.”

Ruth Catlow, Artistic Director, Furtherfield

Anna Nazo, Devia, 2019, performance for ArtFutura 2019 Festival, Iklectik Art Lab, London. Image credit: Pau Ros.
Anna Nazo, Devia, 2019, performance for ArtFutura 2019 Festival, Iklectik Art Lab, London. Image credit: Pau Ros.

Gasworks Partnership, So remember the liquid ground www.gasworks.org.uk
So remember the liquid ground is conceived as a programme of meditative and sensorial experiences. Featuring newly commissioned live sound streaming, moving images and performances, the project is inspired by the secret and suppressed River Effra which flows underneath South London. The notion of the river acts as a way to re-imagine, to navigate, to feel, and to connect and synchronise with our surroundings.

Artists: SoundCamp, Myriam Lefkowitz, Zoë Marden, Eduardo Navarro, Anna Nazo, Himali Singh Soin, Linda Stupart MA curators: Benjamin Darby, Yoojin Kang, Akis Kokkinos, Angelina Li, Lenette Lua, Louise Nason
Visual identity: Hyunsong Lee

Find out more here: www.rca.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/cca-shows-2020-so-remember-the-liquid-ground

“For a period of six months, the RCA curators had prepared an immersive programme of sensorial experiences in response to Eduardo Navarro’s forthcoming exhibition at Gasworks. In March 2020, the COVID-19 pandemic forced us to close our building and postpone Navarro’s exhibition. The RCA Curating students’ response has been remarkable, showing not just enthusiasm and determination, but also their adaptability and pragmatic attitude in times of crisis, all of which are essential skills for curators. The online programme has become a unique platform to reflect on the uncharted potential, limitations and contradictions that online media present for artists such as Myriam Lefkowitz and Anna Nazo, whose work deals with tactility, intimacy and sensorial experience. Importantly, the ongoing conversations between RCA curators, artists and Gasworks’ staff have fed back into the organisation, contributing to Navarro’s exhibition at Gasworks, due to take place later this year.”

Sabel Gavaldon, Curator, & Alessio Antoniolli, Director, Gasworks

Pauline Curnier Jardin, Explosion Ma Baby (still), 2016. Image credit: Ellen de Bruijne projects. FAD MAGAZINE
Pauline Curnier Jardin, Explosion Ma Baby (still), 2016. Image credit: Ellen de Bruijne projects.

Open School East, Nothing gentle will remain www.openschooleast.org
Nothing gentle will remain* invites artists and audiences to speculate on how we gather together, now and in the future. Initially conceived as a series of artist commissions to be presented across the seaside town of Margate, the project now reimagines this proposition in the form of an online and print publication. With contributions ranging from drawing and collage to poems, essays and a script of a performance that never happened, the publication will serve both as a transient space to stage the artists’ work and as a manual for our future collective gatherings.
*The title of the publication is borrowed from CAConrad’s poem of the same name, published in ECODEVIANCE: (Soma)tics for the Future Wilderness (2014), with kind permission from CAConrad

Artists: Josefin Arnell, Pauline Curnier Jardin, Paul Maheke, Dipesh Pandya, Naïmé Perrette with Sara Giannini and Sam Keogh MA curators: Lydia Antoniou, Caterina Guadagno, Nora Kovacs, Titus Nouwens, William Rees
Visual identity: Lotte Lara Schröder
Find out more here: www.rca.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/cca-shows-2020-nothing-gentle-will-remain

“Collaborating with the MA CCA students and tutors was bound to be enlightening and mutually beneficial in a normal context. With the rise of the pandemic, the scope of the collaboration was extended to rethink traditional modes of production, address and dissemination, and adapt curatorial habits to a novel context. We were impressed by the responsiveness and adaptability of both the students and their invited artists, and the vulnerability we have collectively been plunged into has brought about renewed considerations about what it means to curate responsibly and ethically.”

Anna Colin, Director, Open School East

Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, The In/Extinguishable Fire, 2019, film still. Image credit: Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi
Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, The In/Extinguishable Fire, 2019, film still. Image credit: Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi.

Nottingham Contemporary Partnership, Sets and Scenarios www.nottinghamcontemporary.org
In recent years, the development of media has transformed the way we experience moving images. Sets and Scenarios explores our heightened proximity to images and what it means to live under their influence. The programme, devised to unfold in three acts between 15 – 21 June, presents performance and moving image works that enquire into the relationship between viewer and screen, penetrating retina and ear, before creeping beneath the skin, towards the flesh, muscles and viscera.

Artists: Adam Christensen, Eva Gold, Thuy-Han Nguyen-Chi, Aaron Ratajczyk
MA curators: Jade Barget, Angela Blanc, Charlotte dos Santos, Panos Fourtoulakis, Sha Li, Yi-Ning Lin, Lindsey Wiercioch
Visual identity: An Endless Supply

Find out more here: www.rca.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/cca-shows-2020-sets-and-scenarios

“The RCA students’ project, Sets and Scenarios, explores how we live under the influence of images. Originally conceived as a script unfolding throughout the building of Nottingham Contemporary, in the midst of lockdown it was then reimagined for the digital sphere. At a moment when all of us are grappling with questions of distance, proximity and solidarity, this programme provides a valuable and timely provocation.”

Sam Thorne, Director, Nottingham Contemporary

Rachel Pimm, Quincunx (detail), 2020. Image credit: Rachel Pimm. FAD MAGAZINE
Rachel Pimm, Quincunx (detail), 2020. Image credit: Rachel Pimm.

Team London Bridge, Quincunx www.teamlondonbridge.co.uk

Starting with the figure of the herbalist or apothecary, this project considers the interconnection of art, medicine, and plants via the number five and the quincunx pattern. Quincunx is a set of five objects arranged so that four are at the corners of a square or rectangle and the fifth is at its centre and is embodied in the motif of the lozenge from Thomas Browne’s 1658 text The Garden of Cyrus. Originally planned for some of the shared spaces of London Bridge the project has been radically adapted to new conditions of communication, production, and site. In its current form, as research in progress, Quincunx brings together practitioners across disciplines including the visual arts, music, poetry and cookery in an exploration of medicinal plants, sounds and breathing.

Contributors: Rachel Pimm with Lilah Fowler, Peiran Gong, Daisy Lafarge, HP Parmley
MA curators: Junyao Chen, Jinghua Fan, Hetian Guo, Chao Lu, Costanza Simonini, Irina Sinenkaya, Si Shen, Jianan Wang
Visual identity: An Endless Supply

Find out more here: www.rca.ac.uk/news-and-events/events/cca-shows-2020-quincunx

“Team London Bridge has had a great collaboration with the students and the staff from the Royal College of Art forming part of our Culture programme of produced and commissioned cross art form projects. Rachel Pimm and the students have delved into the histories of the London Bridge area and that of medical practices and partners locally. Exploring the seen and the unseen and opening up exciting lines of research for all involved. It has been a truly rewarding journey.”

Ellie Beedham, Director of Art, Team London Bridge

Dates: 15 June, 12.00 (BST): Graduate Projects online www.cca2020.rca.ac.uk

About Mark Westall

Mark Westall is the Founder and Editor of FAD magazine Founder and co-publisher Art of Conversation and founder of the platform @worldoffad