Young Gods: At CHARLIE SMITH London – 2014’s Top Graduate Artists

Young Gods

CHARLIE SMITH London presents the 2015 edition of the annual exhibition ‘Young Gods’, in collaboration with The Griffin Gallery London. The show is taking place simultaneously across two locations in the west and east of London. Both exhibitions have been selected and curated by Zavier Ellis, director of Shoreditch gallery CHARLIE SMITH, and co-founder of THE FUTURE CAN WAIT, the show is a multi-disciplinary presentation of London’s most exciting graduates from the summer of 2014.

The gallery has a reputation for identifying some of London’s best new talent; with Zavier Ellis, the young artist/curator, being highly regarded for his judgement. Ellis has again curated ‘Young Gods’ at Griffin Gallery and CHARLIE SMITH London for the third year running. The exhibition is Ellis’s annual selection of graduates from London art schools, and the artist/curator’s choice of artist is widely recognised as a barometer of the best new London talent. In fact ‘Young Gods’ has a proven track record for discovering vital new artists and introducing them to the international market.

This years exhibition second part of the exhibition of ‘Young Gods’ at CHARLIE SMITH London, has a more intimate feel, focusing on some of the smaller works from the selection of artists on display at the Griffin Gallery. We continue with the varied mix of drawing, sculpture, installation and video from part one of the exhibition at The Griffin Gallery, by seven artists from China, Italy, Netherlands, Norway & United Kingdom, illustrating the international nature of today’s London art schools. The same artists are exhibiting at both locations enabling a different curatorial perspective at each gallery dictated by the space.

The Griffin Gallery’s array of fresh talent makes for an energetic exhibition, with CHARLIE SMITH’s addition a more focused affair – and again we begin with a work from Slade School of Fine Art graduate Hilde Krohn Huse; the artist presents her ‘Standing Narratives’ 2014 – with a personal narrative journey based upon events within her family history; as the artist uses a found selection of family photos to explore the nature of narrative journeys, that signify the importance of the viewers subjective perspective regarding the reading of a work. All presented in the form of a Police incident board – an insinuation of a potentially dark narrative.

Much like the narrative that plays out in Zhu Tian’s provocative work ‘Selling The Worthless’ 2014, the replay of an online auction in which the artist sells her body to the ‘viewer’ one piece at a time – with the exclusion of the Tian’s vagina, which – to the consternation of some bidders – was resolutely not for sale. In return the bidder would get an A4 scan of the prospective body part. The artist again uses misogynistic strategies against those who would employ them, in an almost tawdrily revealing demonstration.

Russell Hill continues with his use of domestic materials, and objects – after his mural of toothpaste at the Griffin Gallery – with the artist’s ‘Line Drawing’ 2014, here we have a jigsaw that cuts a line along the wall, and is left protruding from the slit which forms a line mirrored by the electricity cable running behind it. The language of sculpture collides with a sight-gag, in fact, as the work plays out the relationships between material usage, the domestic and white cube environment, and the action of creation/destruction; the work could have been called ‘site-sight gag’.

Chelsea College of Art and Design graduate Tezz Kamoen usually creates monumental works on paper using a variety of mediums, including ink, crayon, marker pen, and pencil. At the Griffin Gallery in Part 1 of ‘Young Gods’ the artist presented the work, somewhat large in scale and dizzying in detail, highly reminiscent of 1980’s Neo-expressionism. But here Kamoen’s response to the space at CHARLIE SMITH, is at once in sharp contrast to her previous display, and wholly, and successfully exemplifies the intimacy of part 2 of this exhibition, as the works by the artist draw in, and intrigue the viewer.

This expression of the intimacy of the space, and it reflection in the shrewd choice of work on display is continued with Royal College of Art graduate Gabriele Dini’s sculpture ‘Rhizome’ 2014, is a ceramic tooth, entirely convincing, that is, until the viewer notices that the roots of the tooth join in a form reminiscent of an ouroboros. Again the work forms a quiet, and intimate relationship with the viewer, The detail of Dini’s previous work is replaced with simplicity; yet still replicates and then subverts structures found in nature, and human manufacture simultaneously.

RCA graduate Newton Whitelaw – continues with the creation mixed media assemblages that juxtapose organic materials with man-made materials; with the piece ‘Sea Vomit, Or An Oyster That Has Never Been Wounded Cannot Produce Pearls’ 2014, a mixed media work incorporating everything from acrylic, to felt, and oyster shells tied to the work with synthetic hair – one of the artist’s trademarks it would seem, at least in this body of work – with the addition of a personal and subjective context to the piece, it would seem that all of the artists on show at CHARLIE SMITH have been curated with a true understanding of the space.

Filling the rear part of CHARLIE SMITH is Joshua Raffell – a graduate of Chelsea College of Art and Design – with another his mixed media figurative sculptures; provocative and a little disturbing – a patchwork grotesque, the artist’s puppet-like figures – sometimes kinetic in nature – are like a Frankenstein’s monster with an overt sexuality stitched into the intricate detail of colourful fabrics alluding to taboos that would normally illicit the opposite response in society.

Artist/curator Zavier Ellis has chosen a diverse, and genuinely strong collection of artists from the graduate selection of 2014, and has created a dual exhibition – both bold and playful, with his installation at the Griffin Gallery – and intimate and insightful, at CHARLIE SMITH London. Artlyst is looking forward to following all of the artists careers with interest; especially the work of artists Russell Hill, and Zhu Tian.

Read part 1 of the Young Gods review at the Griffin Gallery, London here

Words: Paul Black Photo: courtesy of Gabriele Dini © Artlyst 2015 all rights reserved

Young Gods London Graduates 2014 – Griffin Gallery & CHARLIE SMITH LONDON

Exhibition Dates Thursday January 8th – Friday February 6th 2015 The Studio Building, 21 Evesham Street, London W11 4AJ

CHARLIE SMITH LONDON Wednesday January 14th – Saturday February 14th 2015 336 Old St, 2nd Floor, London EC1V 9DR


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