A microbrewery for book-lovers

Last night at the Chelsea private view

As I said I would, I went to the Chelsea BA degree show last night. I wanted to see if the buzz was transferring to the work. It was quite a good show. There were some especially good sculptures there, but unfortunately the whole site was ridiculously confusing. There is no way of knowing if you have been to see everything, and the endless ‘exhibition continues’ signs were wearying. They also opened too many things in one go, textiles and history and theory of art as well! Even with the big parade ground there was no focal point for gathering, I felt sorry for the students. Also the work was often paranoid, everybody seemed to be making their own ‘spaces’, rooms and partitions floating in enormous rooms. It seemed they felt no ownership of their studios, I quickly guessed they had had a lot of issues over spaces throughout the year, and the move from Manresa. My criteria for the best work swiftly became ‘those who had risen above space politics’.

I bumped into Gerard Wilson, my old head of BA sculpture. He really liked my show. He said (as a compliment) that while I had been at Chelsea my work had been horribly consistent, and if anybody was going to keep on going it would be me. I thought I was one of the least consistent, all kinds of blind alleys, and false starts. A lot of my contemporaries there were refining the same idea repeatedly (which is a perfectly fine thing to do). Tutors even tried to pressure me to narrow it down. I think they have forgotten those little fossils. Good to see him again.

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