Ariadne Project Exhibition and Open House Tours Explore the Lives of RCA Buildings Past, Present and Future
From 22–27 September, a group exhibition at RCA Battersea responds to the evolution of the College’s new Battersea campus currently under construction. Coinciding with Open House London, the Ariadne Project exhibition features newly commissioned artworks that reflect on the emergent stage of what will be the most significant development of the RCA campus since 1961 – a new flagship building designed by Herzog and de Meuron. Tours for Open House London on 22 and 23 September, will also offer members of the public the chance to step behind the scenes in the College’s Woo and Dyson buildings and learn more about the future development.
Acclaimed photographer Rut Blees Luxemburg is leading the research project as RCA Battersea artist-in-residence and Senior Research Fellow. She commented: ‘The research project is directed towards enabling RCA students and alumni to make works of art, texts and other creative responses that reflect on the rapidly changing city, using the new campus development as a field study. This exhibition is named after Ariadne, as the figure who is credited with the ability to navigate the labyrinth, i.e. the prototype city.’
The artists in the Ariadne Project exhibition are all recent graduates of the RCA MA Photography programme. They offer individual reflections on the demolition of the former Sculpture Building and Moving Image Studio, and considerations of prospective futures for the site before it is transformed into the College’s new flagship building.
‘The Last Performance’ by Carlos Jimenez is a video artwork that traces the history of the Moving Image Studio, which was founded in 2009 by artist and filmmaker Stuart Croft. Simone Mudde has utilised the nineteenth-century technique of colour separation to create coloured images from black-and-white negatives that capture passing time and the latency of change. A collection of zines by Stewart Ross Hardie explore the College’s transformation at night, and Martim Ramos captures the poetic possibilities of the construction site during its daily changes.
At the Ariadne Project exhibition private view on Sunday 23 September, there will be a performance of ‘Howie Street Quadruplet’ by poet and artist Joshua Leon. This eulogy to the former RCA Sculpture Building, published by the Everyday Press, is being launched during the Ariadne Project exhibition. The exhibition has been curated by Curating Contemporary Art graduate Agata Kik, and the visual identity is by artist and RCA graduate Philomène Hoël.
Blees Luxemburg's research project is part of her ongoing study into new ways of representing architecture under construction. The exhibition has a dedicated research wall that charts the Flint House Project – a previous work on the relationship between artistic production and contemporary architecture that reflects on the construction of the award-winning Flint House by architect Charlotte Skene Catling, commissioned by the Rothschild Foundation for Waddesdon Estate.
The exhibition is the first of a series of public events in which RCA students and graduates respond to the development of the new flagship Battersea South campus. Over the next four years, Blees Luxembourg will collaborate with the community of researchers, students and staff at the College to produce work documenting the progression of the construction of the new building and those involved, to enable the local community and future generations of RCA alumni, staff, students and historians to understand the aspirations of the project as well as its physical outcomes. Alongside the artworks featured in the exhibition, artworks by recent graduates Shijing Shen and Adam Hines-Green as well as current MA Painting student Elise Broadway, have been commissioned for display on the hoardings at the Battersea construction site.
As part of Open House London on 22 and 23 September, as well as the opportunity to view the exhibition, the College is offering free public tours of the Dyson and Woo Buildings. Visitors will gain unique insights into the buildings’ design and experience first-hand how the flow and shape of the buildings allow for cross-disciplinary interactions that are central to what makes an RCA education so transformational for students and researchers.
Find out more about the Ariadne Project exhibition here
Full details of the Open House London tours can be found here.