Each year for the past half-decade, a new group of students from top London art school Slade is given unrivalled special access to the UCL Art Museum collections. After running free for a bit amongst the collection’s 10,000 objects like a bunch of history-conscious artist gazelles, each student settles on one specific artwork and responds to it with an original production of their own. The collaborative project is a fantastic opportunity to uncover hidden treasures from the collection and lavish them with an in-depth cultural biography, all whilst re-evaluating, reinterpreting and re-working the art objects and breathing new life into their archived souls. See how the phoenix-risen collection objects sing next to their newer counterparts in exhibition ‘Duet’, opening this week at the UCL Art Museum.
The Museum’s collection includes pieces from the 1490s to the late twentieth century and features exquisite early drawings by established masters Dürer and Rembrandt alongside recent painting and digital work. Many of the works relate to teaching at Slade School of Fine Art, which, since its foundation in 1871 has built its reputation to become the art school to go to in London, if you make the cut. Alumni include John Stezaker and sculptors Rachel Whiteread and Anthony Gormley; the ubiquitous Ed Atkins is a recent graduate as is Katie Paterson, whose work was recently part of the widely-celebrated Light Show over at the Hayward.
There is less scope for the usual graduate show naval gazing in this historically conscious exhibition, which will see the students set themselves in the linage of great art and artists as represented by the Museum’s collection . Go, see, and take a guess at which of the artists will be lucky enough to have their own work interpreted by students a century from now. There are sure to be some surprises. (Words: Florence Ritter)
On until June 9th. For more info, visit: www.ucl.ac.uk/museums/uclart/exhibitions