“Static, kinetic, mimetic, floppy, brutal, large, discrete, small, sharp, soft, illuminated or illuminating, with sound, without sound, plugs and or networked – 21st century sculpture is brought to you from the Royal College of Art.”Head of Programme, MA Sculpture
Alex Young (MA Sculpture, 2023)
The Sculpture Master’s programme at the RCA provides a critical environment in which to discuss contemporary issues for making sculpture. As Head of Programme Sarah Staton wrote in the introduction to RCA2023: ‘Our students embrace the new and old with ease to form fresh positions within the discipline.’
This year, the material properties of metal have offered up rich potential for some students. ‘Working with metal for me is like processing or healing trauma’ Alex Young explains. ‘Metal is a really durable material but it is also very forgiving and flexible.’ Whereas for Marisa Polin the process of domesticating metal makes her feel she is expressing herself.
Akanksha Bonsra (MA Sculpture, 2023)
Involving the viewer within a physical space and experience is of interest to many students on the Sculpture programme, including Akanksha Bonsra who wants her work to be experienced with different senses, not just through sight.
The physical and material qualities of sculpture lend it a personal quality, as Ebba Grahn reflects: “Sculpture is very different because you physically become part of it and it’s very hard to distance yourself from it, no matter how much you try to be objective or how much you try to not involve your emotions. It is inevitable’
Sara Osman (MA Sculpture, 2023)
For Adriana Wynne, part of her practice is using this intimate physical nature of sculpture to redress knowledge of the body. She describes her work as ‘trying to find visuals and materials and forms that I associate with my body, to create [...] my own dictionary of how I understand my body as a container and a biological machine’
The final works of all our graduating Sculpture students demonstrate the diversity of the discipline and practice that can be found at the RCA. From object making to performance, navigating the physical and the digital, working through and with the body – these students are expanding and pushing sculpture into new realms.
Sean Synnuck (MA Sculpture, 2023)
Additional images: Paula Cordoba (MA Sculpture, 2023), Ebba Grahn (MA Sculpture, 2023) and Caroline Ashley (MA Sculpture, 2023).