New Contemporaries Returns To Camden Art Centre After Two Decades

New Contemporaries

Bloomberg New Contemporaries is set to return to the Camden Art Centre after a hiatus of over two decades. Showcasing the works of 55 dynamic artists emerging from UK art schools and alternative peer-to-peer learning programs, the exhibition promises a captivating array of creative perspectives.

The artists have been selected by acclaimed figures in the art world—Helen Cammock, Sunil Gupta, and Heather Phillipson—and offer a snapshot of current artistic practices and approaches. This diverse exhibition spans various disciplines, providing a vital reflection of the urgent current concerns driving artists in the UK today.

This unique platform presents emerging talents to a broader audience and facilitates artist development opportunities. For many artists living outside London, this exposure is invaluable. The selected artists, including Savanna Achampong, Bunmi Agusto, and James St Findlay, represent the rich tapestry of contemporary art in the UK.

The exhibition explores care, kinship, collectivity, climate justice, world-building, geographical borders, and identity politics. Through various mediums such as costume, textiles, performance, moving images, and painting, the artists navigate embodied identities, reflecting on their lived experiences through fantasy and dream.

Melodrama, cliché, the surreal, and cinematic devices inform many artists’ approaches, blurring the lines between fact, fiction, and memory. Identity is explored through familial, romantic, and non-human relationships, while various artists probe systemic ableism.

Pagan rituals and sacred symbols take centre stage in forms of care or protection, creating a complex matrix that intersects geographies, borders, environmentalism, racialized oppression, and socio-political structures.

After fifty years of collaboration, New Contemporaries returns to the Camden Art Centre marking a historic commitment to championing emerging artists. In a rapidly changing cultural landscape, this platform has become more vital than ever, connecting the urgent voices of emerging artists with new audiences in London.

Kiera Blakey, Director of New Contemporaries, expresses enthusiasm for the collaboration, highlighting the organization’s enduring commitment to supporting emerging artists since 1949. Having hosted previous New Contemporaries exhibitions, Camden Art Centre plays a pivotal role in fostering a space for artistic growth and experimentation.

This exhibition is not merely a static display; it is complemented by a digital platform that includes all artists’ works and newly commissioned texts by early-career writers. The platform offers an in-depth exploration of each artist’s practice, allowing viewers to delve into the nuances of their creative expressions.

As the art world remains responsive to contemporary movements, New Contemporaries continues to offer artists mentoring, residencies, bursaries, fellowships, commissioning, and programming opportunities through its extensive network of partners.

Commenting on selecting artists at a pivotal moment in their practice, Heather Phillipson notes the unique insight gained through the selection process, providing a glimpse into the minds of the next generation of artists.

New Contemporaries Selectors 

Helen Cammock uses film, photography, print, text, song and performance to examine mainstream historical and contemporary narratives about Blackness, womanhood, oppression and resistance, wealth and power, poverty and vulnerability. Her works often cut across time and geography, layering multiple voices as she investigates the cyclical nature of histories in her visual and aural assemblages. In 2017, Cammock won the Max Mara Art Prize for Women, and in 2019 was the joint recipient of The Turner Prize. She has exhibited and performed worldwide including recent solo shows at the Whitechapel Gallery, The Photographer’s Gallery and Serpentine Galleries (London), STUK Art Centre (Leuven); Collezione Maramotti (Reggio Emilia); VOID (Derry/ Londonderry); the Irish Museum of Modern Art (Dublin); Kestner Gesellschaft (Hannover) and Hamburger Kunstalle (Hamburg). She has three upcoming solo shows: Art + Practice (Los Angeles), Amant (New York) and Oakville Galleries (Toronto).

Sunil Gupta (New Contemporaries alumnus 1983) has been involved with independent photography as a critical practice for many years focusing on race, migration and queer issues. A retrospective was shown at The Photographers’ Gallery, London (2020-21) and has moved to The Image Center, Toronto. He is a Professorial Fellow at UCA, Farnham. His latest book is ‘We Were Here: Sexuality, Photography, and Cultural Difference, Selected Writings by Sunil Gupta (2022) and his current exhibitions include ‘Sunil Gupta: Songs of Deliverance, Part I and Part II’, Hammersmith Hospital, London. His work is in many private and public collections, including the Tokyo Museum of Photography, Victoria & Albert Museum, London; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Royal Ontario Museum, Tate and the Museum of Modern Art. His work is represented by the Hales Gallery (New York, London), Materià Gallery (Rome), Stephen Bulger Gallery (Toronto) and Vadehra Art Gallery (New Delhi).

Heather Phillipson (New Contemporaries alumnus 2008) works in various media, including video, sculpture, music, large-scale installations, online works, text and drawing. Recent solo exhibitions include Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries commission, London (2021-22); the Fourth Plinth commission, Trafalgar Square (2020-22); Almost Gone – an audio collage for BBC Radio 3 (2020), and significant commissions for BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, Gateshead (2018) and Art on the Underground’s flagship site at Gloucester Road underground station (2018). Recent group exhibitions include British Art Show 9 (UK, touring), Shanghai Biennale, China (2021), Garden of Earthly Delights, Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin (2019) and Sharjah Biennial, UAE (2019). Phillipson was nominated for the Turner Prize 2022 and received the Film London Jarman Award in 2016 and the European Short Film Festival selection from the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2018. She is also an award-winning poet. In 2023, she will produce a new commission for the Imperial War Museum in partnership with Glynn Vivian Gallery, Swansea.

The artists selected for New Contemporaries 2023 are:

Savanna Achampong, Bunmi Agusto, Ahaad Alamoudi, Adama Dercilia Bari, Alexandra Beteeva, Cai Arfon Bellis, Matthew Burdis, Thomas Cameron, Yingming Chen, Helen Clarke, Sarah Cleary, Alannah Cyan, Nina Davies, James Dearlove, Harriet Gillett, Haneen Hadiy, Joseph Ijoyemi, Jennifer Jones, Bessie Kirkham, Noa Klagsbald, Iga Koncka, Emily Kraus, Margaret (Weiyi) Liang, Harry Luxton, Ranny Macdonald, Jil Mandeng, Anne McCloy, Phyllis McGowan, SAM (Ayrton Mendes), Zayd Menk, Efrat Merin, Rhys Morgan, Joe Moss, Lili Murphy-Johnson, Elena Njoabuzia Onwochei-Garcia, Abi Palmer, Emerson Pullman, Harmeet Rahal, Daniel Rey, Alicja Rogalska, Luke Anthony Rooney, Jeremy Scott, Holly Sezer, Emma Sheehy, Charan Singh, Jame St Findlay, Korallia Stergides, Samuel Thompson-Plant, Jiayi Wang, Sidney Westenskow, Georg Wilson, Joshua Woolford, Hester Yang, Osman Yousefzada and Samuel Zhang.

Top Photo: Daniel Rey, Collective Cuddles, 2023. Performance. Image courtesy the artist and New Contemporaries.

Bloomberg New Contemporaries, 19th January to 31st March 2024, Camden Art Centre

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