I Graduated From My Bedroom
A graduate show should give to the students, not take.
As a large part of our society continues to unlearn what it thought it knew and wakes up to the events and revolutions taking place globally, the Royal College of Art's graduate show, for the first time in its 183-year history, will take place online, as a digital platform.
Like the toppling of monuments and Confederate statues, this ‘new normal’ within academia reminds us that the permanent demise of the degree show may be just around the corner.
A generation of young artists now finds itself caught between Covid-19 and a ‘Post-Zoom condition’ that translates years of work into an already cluttered virtual desktop that involuntarily mixes the classroom, workplace, personal space, social platforms, and now a graduate show. Yet behind each digital student profile in the show there exists a human on the other side of the screen who still believes in art.
As Melz Owusu’s work has shown, universities have played an important role in the colonial project; therefore for the RCA 2020 show I have selected twenty works by students in the School of Arts & Humanities that collapse the spatial boundaries that define online and offline disparities, that explore racism, decolonization and the loss of life, love, and leisure. Some works blur the lines between self-identity and economic status, while others, to quote bell hooks, allow us ‘to examine the woundedness’ of society. Some students anticipate change while others fight for a space of safety and care.
The work of these twenty students offers a fresh perspective on the symbols, spaces, and futures to come.
Victor Wang is currently Artistic Director and Chief Curator of the M WOODS museums in Beijing. He was the editor of the recent publication ‘Performance Histories from East Asia 1960s–90s‘ (DRAF 2018) and founder of the ‘Institute of Asian Performance Art’.
Recent exhibitions include: ‘Micro-Era’ at the Nationalgalerie Berlin; ‘Dangdai Yishu’ at Lisson Gallery London (2019); the first solo exhibition in China of Haroon Mirza at Sifang art Museum, Nanjing (2019); the first museum survey in China of Richard Tuttle at MWOODS, Beijing (2019); the first solo exhibition in China of Michael Dean at ShanghART Gallery, Shanghai (2018); Katja Novitskova at Whitechapel Gallery, London (2018); ‘Zhongguo 2185’ at Sadie Coles HQ, London (2017); the first solo exhibition in China of Katja Novitskova at Cc Foundation & Art Centre, Shanghai (2017); Jac Leirner at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Pavilion, Shanghai (2016) the first solo exhibition in China of Neïl Beloufa at chi K11 art museum, Shanghai (2016); amongst others.
Wang was part of the curatorial team of the Twelfth Havana Biennial (2015); and was part of the curatorial team for the Vancouver Pavilion at the 9th Shanghai Biennale (2012).
He collaborated with artist Oscar Murillo on the publication ‘Oscar Murillo: The Build-up of Content and Information’ (2018), published by David Zwirner Books, and has lectured on curating and contemporary Chinese art and East Asian art at universities such as Tokyo University of the Arts, Tokyo, The Courtauld Institute of Art, London, Central Academy of Fine Art (CAFA), Beijing, Central Saint Martins,London, Royal College of Art, London, and Goldsmiths University, London.