During the Covid-19 pandemic, thousands of artists worldwide graduated, but their work often remained hidden behind closed doors and borders. Educational institutions have been creating online graduation shows for the past year, and never before it has been so easy to view artworks by young artists around the world. Normally, for many the threshold to travel to international art academies is high, but now it is possible to look through the eyes of a new generation of artists from inside our own house.
Gerda van de Glind puts the work of artists from different directions in the spotlights for Mister Motley this year, with each operating in a different discipline. She also asked them how their work came about and how they experienced graduating during the pandemic. Of course, their work is not a representation of any discipline, academy or country; these artists are just sounds in a sea of new voices. At POST some of them show their (digital) work, so that we can hear their story. What are the roots of their work? How do they view the world? And what do they see glistening on the horizon?
Adilson De Oliveira (1998) & Mzoxolo Mayongo (1986) of Magolide Collective (South Africa)
Magolide Collective makes screen prints, videos, VR environments and performances. It often involves new versions of well-known works of art, with which all spectators can identify; for example, they made their own version of the Sistine Chapel. In each work they interweave elements from African history with elements from pop culture. By adding new layers to a story that has always been written by the oppressor, they hope their work can help heal (art) history, so that more African artists will be added to textbooks around the world. For example: the first abstract expressionist was not Jackson Pollock, it was Ernest Mancoba.
Magolide Collective graduated in 2020 from the University of the Witwatersrand in Johannesburg, South Africa. In 2021, Magolide Collective participated in exhibitions at the Goethe Institute in Johannesburg, South Africa, the Art Institute of Chicago in the United States and at the Afro-Pixel Festival in Dakar, Senegal. Their work has also been shown at the I-D Global Design Graduate Show in London, the Kampala Biennale in Uganda and the Momo Gallery in Cape Town, South Africa.
Daphne Jiyeon Jang (1986, KOR / graduated in the UK)
Daphne Jiyeon Jang makes large video installations for which she uses 3D animations, video projects and digital constructions to give new meanings to classical sculptures. For example, she made 'Babel - The Golden Boy', a 3D version of the Tower of Babel. The tower is made up of standing versions of Rodin's thinker that slowly but surely help a statue up: in this case John Hutchinson's statue Golden Boy. The original statue stands in Edinburgh as the epitome of reaching the top. In the sculpture by Daphne Jiyeon Jang, he only reaches the top for a moment, as a symbol for the transience of power. By literally moving statues, the artist makes us think not only about the power structures of the past, but also those of the present and the future.
Daphne Jiyeon Jang obtained her Master’s degree in Fine Arts from the University of Edinburgh in Scotland in 2020. Her work has been exhibited around the world, including at the Cite Internationale des Arts in Paris, Waterfall Mansion in New York, AHAF in Hong Kong and the Art & Design Lab in Shanghai. Her work is also included in several collections, including the National Museum of Contemporary Art in Korea.
Subashri Sankar (1998, IND / graduated in Singapore)
Subashri Sankar makes installations and photos in which she focusses on the role of food in our society. During the lockdown, for example, she covered the floor of her parental home with bread dough, which was kneaded with every footstep. Bread is one of the most widely used food products in the world and thus symbolizes many different layers in our society, like craft, experiences, habits and rituals. It is a product that intertwines the present and the past, in recipes that are passed on from generation to generation. In her work, Sankar asks critical questions about the accessibility of food: to what extent do people have the choice to influence their own eating habits?
Subashri Sankar graduated from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts in Singapore in 2020. With her graduation work she won the Best Studentship Award and the Cheong Kam Hee Art Prize. Sankar's work has been exhibited at various locations in Singapore and in an online exhibition created in Indonesia, and it has been acquired by the National History Museum in Singapore.
Ágnes Nagy-György (1995, HUN)
Agnes Nagy-György makes sculptures from the soil of places where she feels at home, and therefore they contain an almost elusive element: time. Her graduation work consisted of sculptures that she made in the countryside where she comes from. She extracted various shapes of soil there, after which she closely tracked how nature got a grip on it during one whole month. Sun, wind and water had their influence of course, and roots shot across her sculptures as the artist watched and took notes. In the end, she found exactly the right place, time and method to complete her graduation work. It consists of two sculptures: a sculpture that is almost literally drawn from the clay, and the negative residual form that remained in the landscape. Traces of time are visible in both sculptures, which tell the story of a year that left no one unmoved.
Ágnes Nagy-György graduated in 2020 from Moholy-Nagy University of Art and Design in Budapest, Hungary. She received an award for her graduation work and participated in a ceramic symposium in Hódmezővásárhely. Her work was exhibited at the Hungarian Ceramics Biennale last summer. She currently works as a ceramist and is part of the Criminal Craft collective, which operates in Zebegény, Hungary.
Read Gerda's articles for Mister Motley here (in Dutch):