by Mavis Sze Wong
The exhibition ‘Off the Wall’ (sponsored by DAAD) was held on-board HQS Wellington, which is docked at Victoria Embankment, London. the exhibition took place from Thursday till Sunday (18th -21st September 2015 ) and featured two of the RCA graduates who had participated in “Convergence” at AND eventSpace, Helena Hartmann and Girolomo Mari.
The show was staged aboard the HQS Wellington (a 1933 sloop which had been commanded across the Atlantic and Pacific, is permanently moored on the Thames at Victoria Embankment, opposite Temple Tube station.
“Off The Wall” was a trans-platform art exhibition which floated on the Thames, with works by artists emerging from across London's art colleges. It also featured an extraordinary installation “Another Day Lost” by UK-based, Syrian artist Issam Kourbaj, which addressed the refugee crisis evoking a refugee camp made from waste and ‘found’ materials. The composition which was spread across the top deck was delineated by a 'fence' of ‘swan vesta’ matches, one of which is added for each day of the exhibition.
‘Off The Wall’ presented emerging artists drawn from London art colleges including the Royal College of Art, Slade School of Fine Art, Camberwell College of Arts, Goldsmiths and Chelsea Colleges of Art. It was a mixed exhibition of paintings, sculpture, photography, drawing, installations and video complimented by a programme of performances and contributions from other established performance artists.
London once established its connections with the globe from the gateway of its river Thames. It is now the world's epicenter of counter-culture, and not least, home to many of the world's most prestigious Academies of art. Inevitably the city is nurturing key members of the next generation, who originate from three continents over both hemispheres, that will shape our understanding of visual, sound and performative arts globally. Off The Wall selectively sampled the surging seas of talent at work in the city to bring a spectrum from across that emerging generation back to the river.
Over the summer, ‘Another Day Lost’ was hosted by five venues across London. Bringing it to HQS Wellington referenced the refugee ships currently crossing the Mediterranean, and the rescue of 1,000 refugees by the Royal Navy's HMS Bulwark in June.
The artists in Off The Wall were not bound by a single theme or thread, but freely drew on their individually diverse vision, interpretation and aspirations which range from the provocative to contemplative, from representational to abstract, and from the spaciality of sculpture to the ephemeral power of performance.
The HQS Wellington determined that no work was hung directly onto the walls. Thus the artists works addressed this as a spatial challenge within physical constraint by commandeering stairs, floors, furniture, and the spaces in between.
Although free to enter the exhibition invited donations dedicated to Syrian projects run by Médecins sans Frontières (MSF) and the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR).
Participating artists were,
Sze Wong,Julia Varela,Issam Kourbaj, Matthias Tharang, Ruozhe Xue, Helena Hartmann, Yuki Kobayashi, Nils Alix Tabeling, Zehra Arslan, Cibelle Cavalli Bastos, Miguel Soto, Riikka Hyvönen, Yu Ting ong, Jiaxin Yuan, Sunghun Ryu, Hamish Pearch, Girolamo Marri, Kennis Chen, Anna Cheung, Min Kim, Delfina Fantini Van Ditmar, Luli Perez, Justin Fitzpatrick, Macarena Rojas Osterling, Li Li Ren, Jamie Fitzpatrick, Colin Lindsay, Alicia Matthews, Heather McCalden
The entire exhibition was free to enter with donations invited for Syrian projects run by Doctors Without Borders (MSF UK) and the U.N. Refugee Agency (UNHCR). http://www.justgiving.com/teams/anotherdaylost