BNC Review

Bloomberg New Contemporaries was an array of reactions and confusions but by all means a must see, especially to realise the wider issues that face us whether in the everyday, in our social doings, in topical debates or of ourselves as humans and as a population. The pleasantly logical curation of the show in the physical space of the World Museum in Liverpool was set out as though we, the audience were part of a story. We started with an uncertain plot, the protagonists were introduced, the detective story was solved and the conclusion was the reader had been satisfied a well digested narrative.

On entering, we are confronted with political and religious works; they are intense and ‘in your face’ and there is a sense that this is an angry bunch of artists. Alice Hartley’s huge billboard declaring ‘We Are all Very Disappointed’ certainly set the current political climate and tone until we walk round the corner. The sensual and sexual works of the ‘pink’ coloured works, sexual sounds by Tajinder Dhami and images of naked flesh quickly entice us.


Leaving this and gagging past ‘Banana Split’ by Victoria Grenier, where a film shows copious amounts of yellow liquid being consumed, we are confronted by the aggressive. The works are big, broken, smashed, split into two and energy is pumped into these pieces until we scurry to other works, which explore themes of self-destruction with a helping of paranoia.

‘Feed Me’ by Adam Wallace are large pink, fat figures painted on ripped cardboard encompassing cathartic feelings and ‘Cannabis’ by Lucy Beech is a self-confessed video of women in social situations and dining. These works makes us feel a little self-pity inside. Then at last, some humour. The film ‘A Splendid Life of Hildegard Ramsbottom’ a film by Stacey Guthrie, is a fun piece acted by a single female who has no friends to play with but the humour doesn’t last long when we realise that this is a really lonely woman who really does not have any friends to play with.

This leads onto work about broken families but we are not feeling down for too long when we are feeling content and relief when the next set of works is childish and about childhood. Be young, be wild and play with the huge upside down white plastic bag legs that are pumped full of air by Katie Hayward and then be afraid when imaginations go wild with ‘Reynard with a Vengence’, Matt Copion, a large graphic drawing of a monster with menacing sounds; the monster is angry and wants to tell us off. We want to take comfort in the colourful playpen but it is broken and destroyed and this is the work ‘A Bodily Capacity (the endeavour of Stuff on a Frame) by Emily Motto. We are thinking that that is such a grown up title… and low and behold we are asked to grow up to meet the last set of works.

They celebrate other worlds, cultures and languages to realise that this exhibition not only celebrates new talent fresh from art schools but is a celebration of the many ideas, making skills and meanings that seeing art in the flesh can bring to us.

In every step in the gallery, every set of works seen and every detail digested, the exhibition deals with human emotion, commonalities of our behaviours and the thoughts we often think but are too embarrassed to say. This year the artists in New Contemporaries have said it for us and they have said a lot. The exhibition moves to ICA, London 26th November- 25th January 2015.

1 Comment

  1. James Loy 8 December 2014 at 12:53 pm

    Thanks Diana for an interesting walk around on this show. You article brings back memories
    of the day.
    You describe a roadmap through the gallery space with all the different pit-stops
    and how they attempt to connect together in a roller coaster of emotions.
    I also enjoyed the John Moores Painting Prize.
    I noticed one of the paintings had figures painted in the same coloures as the gallery attendants. By coincidence I was talking to one of the attendants when this came to my attention. Something the attendant had not noticed himself.


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