Twice a year, Central Saint Martins opens its doors to the public. This is not an open day for prospective students, but rather, an art fair of sorts, where every discipline from furniture design to communication design is on display—Degree Show Two, as it’s known around the college.

Earlier this week, the public ascended concrete flights of stairs at the private view. A stream of people, probably rushing to the bar, stumbled upon THIS NEW FEELING, the exhibition curated by a group of BA Culture, Criticism & Curation students. The project spanned across the students’ entire final year and was not a compulsory project; those involved were passionate about getting a professional experience in exhibition-making, publishing and event organisation.

Held in the second floor room C202, it’s the first classroom that visitors see when entering the college, as though it’s the arch of a viewing bridge – a vast space with two glass walls, almost as if the room is a reflection of everything that enters and exits the building.

The exhibition’s concept, Metamodernism, has been explored through the oscillation between digital and traditional art practice. Pieces that are seemingly handmade have been digitally rendered whilst others used digital methods to represent traditional techniques. The exchange of information in the transparent room enabled the curators to design a show where they established Metamodern connections outside the exhibition room itself, with the wider college and exhibitions on display.

At the entrance to the show sat Tully Arnot’s The Lonely Sculpture (2014), continuously tapping ‘LIKE’ on countless profiles a minute on Tinder, as if approving every guest that entered the space. As guests weaved between four central plinths, they were constantly between pieces, occupying space where the pieces established a dialogue with each other and the audience. Being in the room allowed them to also occupy a liminal space within the college itself, as the space is simultaneously a mirror of, and a window to the students’ university experience. The curated oscillation of movement within the space ties into Metamodern theories of a constant back and forth between Modern and Postmodern states of feeling.

Visitors seemed immediately affected by the work, exchanging knowing smiles as they observed The Lonely Sculpture, with one spectator mentioning that they immediately “felt a deep sadness and nostalgia” when viewing Mastering Bambi (2010) by Persijn Broersenand and Margit Lukács. A familiar score coloured the exhibition space and other works, coming from a barren landscape where Bambi once lived. This piece emphasized the drastic environmental and social changes occurring, which creates a desire for the return to the grand narrative. A piece of our beloved childhood had been recreated in an eerie, futuristic landscape.

The curators situated Mastering Bambi right next to #INTRODUCTIONS (2015), by LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner, in which Shia LaBeouf stands in front of a green screen emotively expressing BA Fine Art student’s motives behind their work. The piece was a collaboration between the collective and CSM BA Fine Art’s Degree Show One. The students wrote the manifestos behind their works and LaBeouf sincerely delivered them to the viewer against a backdrop of the artists’ work, punctuating the livestream which served as a critique and engagement with the graduate’s work, led by students from BA Fine Art and CCC. This juxtaposition of a grown-up Disney star next to an extinct Bambi reveals the environmental, economical and social changes central to This New Feeling.

LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner will be joined by Robin van den Akker, co-author of Notes on Metamodernism and co-founder of Metamodernism.com on Friday 26th June for This New Feeling: What is Metamodernism?, a discussion organised in the LVMH Lecture Theatre at 5:30 PM, in tandem with the exhibition. For more information, visit thisnewfeeling.com

#INTRODUCTIONS from LaBeouf, Rönkkö & Turner on Vimeo.

Words by Katarina Kostich

Photography by Ruby Boddington

Featured image artwork by Valentin Dommanget

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