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The Royal College of Art Presents Exhibition ‘Future Archive’ in Response to New Building Project

Exhibition dates: Tuesday 17 September to Tuesday 1 October 2019, 11am–5pm

Location: Royal College of Art, Dyson Gallery, 1 Hester Road, London SW11 4AN

Private View: Friday 20 September, 6–9pm

As construction begins on the RCA’s new flagship campus in Battersea, designed by Herzog & de Meuron, a group of artists and designers, students and alumni from the RCA are collectively exploring the process of construction through an artistic research laboratory called ‘Future Archive’. 

Future Archive uses the construction site in Battersea as a location for field-study in order to create paintings, photographs, texts, performances and experimental responses. This will be displayed at a public exhibition at the RCA Battersea from 17 September – 1 October.  

The concept of the Future Archive is directed by Rut Blees Luxemburg, RCA Senior Research Fellow and artist. The project uses the construction phase of the architectural process as an abundant and complex source of research. The exhibition brings to the fore unexpected and under-represented visual narratives related to themes of physical labour and masculinity, technology and materiality as well as the visualisation of latency and duration of the architectural process.

Influenced by the theme of construction, designer and current RCA student, Emily Schofield has devised a support-structure for exhibiting the artworks. 

Highlight artworks include:

  • A metal installation by Diego Valente that incorporates experimental chemigrams made with  clay extracted from 50 meters below the construction site. 
  • Claire Felicity Miller presents samples to demonstrate future wearable technology that senses the worker’s skin, measuring their body parameters, incorporated in the builder’s protective workwear. 
  • Sam Creasey’s paintings of the Battersea campus builders are painted with aggregates using soft sand and chalky mediums such as pastel to emulate the topography of the site.

The exhibition is accompanied by a publication called ‘An Inventory of Gaps’, which brings together text by Lucy Holt, who is currently ‘writer-in-residence’ on the construction site and photographs by David Barreiro, who have followed the site closely over the last year. The book is designed by Bakhtawer Haider and Magda Tritto and is published by FOLIUM.

The exhibition is curated by Agata Kik (MA Curating Contemporary Art, 2018) and designed by Emily Schofield (MA Graphic Design, 2020). Participating artists and contributors include David Barreiro (MA Photography, 2019), Sam Creasey (MA Painting, 2020), Andrew Culloo (MA Fashion, 2020), Bakhtawer Haider (MA Graphic Design, 2020), Eleni Han (MPhil Architecture), Adam Hines-Green (MA Sculpture, 2018), Lucy Holt (MA Writing 2020), Rut Blees Luxemburg, Claire Felicity Miller (PhD Textiles), Simone Mudde (MA Photography, 2018) , Magda Tritto (MA Graphic Design, 2020), Diego Valente (MRes Fine Art, 2019) and Simon Ward (MA Photography, 2007).

For further information or images please contact Bethany Bull, RCA Press Office t: +44 (0) 20 7590 4114, e: [email protected]  / [email protected]

About the RCA

The Royal College of Art, the internationally renowned art and design university, provides students with unrivalled opportunities to deliver art and design projects that transform the world.

A small, specialist and research-intensive postgraduate university based in the heart of London, the RCA is a high performing institution, a radical traditionalist in a fast paced world.

The RCA's approach is founded on the premise that art, design creative thinking, science, engineering and technology must all collaborate to solve today's global challenges.

The University employs around 1000 professionals from around the world – professors, researchers, art and design practitioners, advisers and visiting lecturers – to teach and develop students in 30 academic programmes.

RCA students are exposed to new knowledge in a way that encourages them to experiment. Working across scientific and technical canvases and beyond set boundaries, RCA students seek to solve real-world problems.

The RCA runs joint courses with Imperial College London and the Victoria & Albert Museum. InnovationRCA, the university's centre for enterprise, entrepreneurship, incubation and business support, has helped over 50 RCA business ideas become a reality that has led to the creation of over 600 UK jobs. 

The RCA recently launched GenerationRCA which will propel the University’s radical new academic vision by focusing on three key pillars: ‘Place, Projects and People’. This programme will see the RCA transform its campuses and the ways in which the university teaches, researches and creates. It includes the construction of the Herzog & de Meuron-design flagship building in Battersea and introduction of future programmes centres on nano and soft robotics, computer science and machine learning, materials science and the circular economy. 

Alumni include David Adjaye, Christopher Bailey, David Hockney, Tracey Emin, Thomas Heatherwick, Lubaina Himid, Clare Waight Keller and Rose Wylie.