Future Map Exhibition

Future Map 2012: Showcasing the finest talent from University of Arts London

On Thursday 17th January I was lucky enough to attend the opening of ‘Future Map’, an exhibition of the work of 50 graduating BA and MA students selected from across the University of the Arts London. Now in its 15th year, ‘Future Map’ is London’s leading annual exhibition of the finest emerging talent. Curated by University of the Arts London College Deans Mark Dunhill (Central Saint Martins College of Arts and Design) and George Blacklock (Chelsea College of Art and Design) Future Map 12 seeks to reflect the breadth and diversity of Fine Art practices across the University, and in addition include works from other subject areas in order to encourage debates surrounding the inter-, multi-, and cross disciplinary nature of work currently being produced.

Sophie Chamberlain, a BA student at Chelsea College of Art and Design was awarded Future Map 12’s £3000 prize for ‘Untitled’, a sculptural piece, made partly of ice, which explores the engineering inherent in artistic creation, probing the residue of the industrial era in order to create something truly unique.

Aside from Sophie’s piece, there is, however, plenty of other ingenious and intriguing work on display. My favourites, too numerous to mention, include Linda Krefft’s ‘Ice Lolly’, Tess Faria’s ‘Clean/lean’, Emily Dillon’s ‘Camera Rucksack’ and Darragh Casey’s ‘Straddle Shelf’,  playful, humorous, visually witty works designed to amuse as well as intrigue.  Casey’s ‘Shelf Portraits’, enacted at the CSM studio last year involve friends and members of the artist’s family being propped up and ‘shelved’ alongside their own possessions, a process intended as an interrogation of the relationship between family and furniture, body and object.  In ‘Clean/lean’, Tess Faria presents a peculiar and painstaking performance of familiar domestic activities rendered unfamiliar out of context. I was also hugely impressed by the work of Phoebe and Lydia Lake, identical twins whose mesmeric and strangely poignant film piece, ‘We don’t have to be in the same place to be together’ illustrates through the use of a single adolescent male subject the extraordinary nature of a twin consciousness. Shot so as to appear to be two people, the twins express through their subject the level of unspoken intimacy that exists between them exploring by way of body language and behavioural idiosyncrasy the apparent physical and psychological bond that joins them, irrevocably, irreversibly. What unites the work in this exhibition for me is a sense of critical curiosity, a fresh and feeling response to the world which cannot fail to delight.

Future Map 12 runs until 9th February, Lethaby Gallery, Central Saint Martins College, 1 Granary Square N1C 4AA

Nicola Baird