6 Steps, MA Art and Design Exhibition

Diverse, six students from six different countries, displaying 6 different art pieces.  

Six Steps MA Art and Design Show features the work of  Daniel Udoakah, Phudit Srithongsongsang, Sulaman Raice Sunny, Yu Chen Lin, Konstantinos Tranakidis students of MA Art and Design from the University of Bedfordshire.  The diversity can be seen from the body of work of each student that consisted from the digital works by Daniel Udoakah to the expressive paintings by Yu Cheng Lin and Suresh Puspangathan. In total there were 10 art works on display include each artist project book. All the artwork went through rigorous reflection and thinking that can be read from their project books that are also displayed under a glass case table.

The exhibition was held at the new glittering Postgraduate Centre building located at Vicarage Street opened with a private viewing on May 31 and lasted until June 7, 2013. The choice of venue was a great move since it puts the work more into the spotlight compared doing the exhibition in the Gallery Space which is a bit cornered.  The Works displayed can be seen from outside through the big glass windows with a coffee shop the venue provides a nice place to drink coffee while enjoying the beautiful work of the artists. Despite a lot of effort has been poured onto the individual work, the exhibition itself needed more things to work on.

The decision to omit any title to the artwork displayed which is probably meant to give the freedom to the viewers in order to provide loose interpretation to  the artwork is somehow confusing because in the end there is still the need to know the title. The shy catalogue itself couldn’t keep up with the great artwork the student has been producing. We missed the catalogue mainly because it wasn’t the first thing that grabs the visitor’s attention when entering the venue. It might be useful if the leaflets were put on the sides of the main partition in the middle. It seems the artists who were or supposed to be responsible for the exhibition are burnt out after finishing their final project.  The promotion of the exhibition also felt a bit of last minute where posters are put up on the day of the exhibition.

Some of the Artist

Igenerate by Daniel Udoakah Source: Daniel Udoakah Facebook

Daniel Udoakah who advocates generative art displayed his art work called IGenerate. The Artwork consisted of two parts, one is a print on Canvas and the other ones are projected onto a screen. Daniel disagreed the French saying:  l’art pour l’art’ or ‘art for art’s sake’, art should appreciate the advanced of technology Daniel imbued. That’s why he chose Wolfram; a computer program, to make his artwork. Daniel developed art works based on complexity, chaos and randomization theory using mathematical instruction involving random shapes and colours producing a lot of combination which were projected to the screen in the gallery. Daniel’s work reminds me of Joshua Davis who uses Flash to create random patterns with random shapes while Daniel’s shape seems limited to the basic shapes. (I believe these are constrains put by the assignments).  Still the drawback to Daniel’s method to create art that one has to have sufficient understanding on how to operate the Wolfram software that makes the art making less accessible.  Still the method can be an alternative for web designers, fashion designers or even as Daniel said architects to decorate rooms or buildings. The printed version of IGenerate is printed on high resolution canvas and came out with strong colours.

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Our Cubic World by Kostas Source: Personal picture

Another interesting art work is “Our Cube World” by Konstantinos Tranakidis. This installation consists of a collage of 25 pictured cubes in one big frame. Each side of the cubes represents something about an artist from the exhibition.  The three artists that are represented are Sulaman Sunny, Phudit Srithongsongsang and Jerry a.k.a. Yu Cheng Lin. The other side  depicts the journey the other artist went through their study in the MA art and Design. Kostas aimed interactivity in the sense that the viewers can touch and rotate each box in oppose to only viewing them.

To give the viewers a real sense of involvement he used direct interaction mimicking the games he used to play and the Rubik Cube the main inspiration of the installation. Kostas ‘s Cube World can be seen as a Paradigm in Saussure’s semiotics theory where each  side represent one paradigm with each unit in the set has something in common and each unit is different from the other.

When we turn one of the cube there would a paradigm shift thus giving the viewers a different paradigm and meaning. Although inspired by the Rubic Cube, the colour scheme that Kostas uses isn’t as contrast as the Rubic that uses six colours. The title ‘Our Cube World’ seems to be out of place on the top of the installation while it either can be placed within the cubes. The good thing is that the installation is the only display that has a title and title becomes immediately memorable.

The Installation seems to lack any invitation to touch or play with it relying solely on the initiative of the viewer. One thing that Kostas wanted to change of this artwork is if he had more funds he would’ve have used better material. In the End the Exhibition can be seen as a celebration for the Artist who finally finished their Masters a celebration that doesn’t need something too fancy, just a beer and friends as this is only one step towards a better future.