RCA Society

From Floor to Sky Exhibition • Private View

As expected the exhibition ‘From Floor to Sky’ curated by Peter Kardia attracted huge interest at its opening night at P3 Ambika Galleries in London. The gallery was packed with hundreds of visitors including artists, students, and lecturers of all ages. The large turnout was a significant response to what is a signifying exhibition.

‘From Floor to Sky’ deals with a unique moment in the history of both art and art education by juxtaposing selected works from a number of artists who were studying at St Martins School of Art and the Royal College of Art during the 1960s - 80s alongside their more recent works. www.fromfloortosky.org.uk/artists.html

Central to the exhibition is Peter Kardia, who with a number of other tutors at St Martins and the RCA is recognised as (an) ‘architect’ of the shift that ocurred during that 20 year period in art education and subsequently in art practice: from the setting of specific criteria for student intake and the re-structuring of arts courses the level of intellectual discourse and practice took on a new dynamic. The ‘atkinson’ approach was purposeful - it ‘unfixed’ established domains and boundaries that prevailed at that time within the art schools. The 1960s has a reputation (albeit now observed through ‘rose tinted glasses’ from a safe distance) for instigating social, economic, political and cultural shifts. New attitudes and approaches particularly in the creative arenas of art, music and media took hold. Art schools were no longer the domain of genteel hobbyists they became places where intentions crossed boundaries and traditions. Now, cross disciplinary practice is an accepted way of working and the blurring between technique based painting, sculpture, photography, film is no longer an issue. Or is it?

The lead course at St Martins was closed down during the 1970s and ‘Environmental Media’ at the Royal College of Art was closed down in 1984.

The purpose of the exhibition is to show where and how this shift got going and how its influence lives on.