Liveness 2021

Fine Art and Painting

Liveness 2021 (Archive)

Video Still View final graduation show

Digitality Contra Wilderness, Thomas Breeton

The Fine Art – BA (Hons) and Painting – BA (Hons) courses have this year seen an exceptional level of resilience and ingenuity from the students across the three years; with exhibitions in their homes, public art and monuments proposals, intimate performance pieces at home and in public, demonstrating that creativity is still very much possible whilst in a pandemic.

The first-year and second-year students curated and launched two excellent spring shows on the Fine Art London Met Kunstmatrix site. This year’s graduating students have their exhibition on Kunstmatrix and we would like to welcome you to it. Enjoy a walk around an outstanding final show.

Dr Johanna Hällsten, Course Leader in Fine Art

The track Never Going Back Again, from Fleetwood Mac’s 1977 Rumours album, chronicles personal disappointment and the desire not to relive the pattern of loss. But it also points at a transformation driven by momentous change. It chimes obliquely with the experience of the creative sector that saw such reversals of fortune over subsequent lockdowns across this past year and counting. For the young artists presented here, being far from their studios, workshops, and separated from friends, peers and supporting staff, has been a severe blow. Yet if the production of artworks has been affected, it is abundantly clear that creativity continues to thrive – indeed, it never went away! Virtual Meeting rooms replaced the studio in art schools across the country and turned a creative community into digital, spectral presences who interacted online as talking heads, but who functioned equally as actors in an endless cinematic experience everybody else was watching. There was never silence online. Their myriad voices resounded throughout the online classrooms in vital exchanges, always framed by the incessant soundtrack of the clacking of fingers on keyboards rushing off additional commentary on the state of things.

And yet, against all the odds, bereft of studios and workshops, these budding artists were making work: streaming work online, blogging tirelessly and creating new things in their homes, in the landscape, on the street, on the hoof. Work that addressed the pandemic, their isolation, their fears and hopes – but also, despite everything – describing experiences of normality that persisted regardless. After all, artists have always made work within their own historical and social context, but also, in spite of it. The online exhibition showcases the work of graduating students from the Fine Art BA and the Painting BA at London Met's School of Art, Architecture and Design and represents a culmination of several years of study, but most importantly, it signals the inception of their future careers and practices. Their works displayed here mourn, critique, celebrate and provoke by turns, echoing the vagaries of an unpredictable time, but always with the knowledge that there will be better days ahead: Been down one time Been down two times I'm never going back again.¹

Nico de Oliveira, Senior Lecturer in Fine Art

¹ Never Going Back Again, Stevie Nicks and Lindsay Buckingham, Warner Bros. Records, 1977.

Never Going Back Again, BA Fine Art & BA Painting Show 2021 — Catalogue

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