University of the Arts London Showroom: Deutsche Bank Award Winners (until 3rd October 2013)

The University of the Arts London is a collection of some of the capital's finest art institutions, generating graduates who have contributed hugely to the world of art, media, drama and fashion. With alumni including Stella McCartney, Alexander McQueen and Charles Saatchi, the names alone speak volumes.

In its current 'showroom' exhibit, WC1, we are treated to graduate work from a selection of the university's crop. There is variety to be found but something of a focus on photography, as the Deutsche Bank Award celebrates the best in fashion and photography. This particular exhibit showcases winners of the award over the past eleven years who have come from the university; all have since progressed further in their career thanks to the prestigious prize.

One of the most stunning pieces in the small but concentrated exhibition, for me, is Alicja Dobrucka's 'Culture Translated', a series of embroided wood carvings. Delicately made, each item resonates years of old with their original, handcrafted look accompanied by strong colours that attract the eye in every direction. Dobrucka won the Award in 2010 after completing MA Fine Art Photography at the London College of Communication. Her pieces are the most expensive of all the items exhibited, however the level of beauty and intricacy is hard to match.

Despite winning the Deutsche Bank Award in 2001 for Fashion, the showroom displays two of John Noi's acrylic paintings, which have something of an Edvard Munch air to them. 'Chelsea & Maria', pictured below, was created by Noi from an original photograph, before being digitally altered then transferred to acrylic. Featured in the artist's own magazine, Style of Sound, it is said that the pieces address the relationship between photography and painting. Upon knowing this information, the viewer is able to see the resemblance of a true-to-life perception, beyond the initial impression.


Although this is a small collection of graduate work, it is well worth a visit if you're interested in emerging artists with a variety of specialisms. Particularly if you are lucky enough to study at the university, there is plenty to be inspired by. 

As a London resident, I can also wholeheartedly recommend UAL's graduate shows, which run at various points in the year. A great opportunity to spot new artists on different pathways.

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