Taking Up Space, the debut solo exhibition by the emerging British artist EmilyMulenga at Firstsite, Colchester, features a series of Mulenga’s video works as well animated GIFS and personalised emojis – or in the artist’s terms – MulengaMojis.
Mulenga uses her own image within her work to assert ownership over the way it is viewed online. Through her works, Mulenga positions her filmed self or animated avatar in vivid virtual environments. The title of the exhibition, Taking Up Space, refers to the way in which the physical or digital body can be a productive and positive site of artistic investigation.
Having studied film at my alma mater, USC, and now working in art, there are few things I can think of that excite me more than the upcoming Vincent van Gogh documentary, Loving Vincent. Not only is this cinematic feat to come an in-depth and personal peek into the impressionist master’s life compiled from information taken from 800 of his letters, but is also the first ever feature length painted animation film.
From felted dogs humping in discreet corners, to a bathtub turned garden and replicated airline cabin complete with a not-so-typical safety video, I don’t think I’d be exaggerating to say that this show has it all, including some stunning painting and touching installation to boot. Furthermore, it is clear the students this year did not shy away from risk, but rather embraced it wholeheartedly. This fearlessness is obvious in the work and makes for a compelling, innovative and thrilling few hours of art.
I’ve been to a lot of blockbuster exhibitions in my time. You know the type: massive retrospective shows put on by the likes of Tate and the National Gallery which throw as many works as possible at you as if compiling evidence to prove that this artist is genius, this artist is exciting, this artist isn’t like any of the others. Despite this being one of the most popular ways of taking in art and culture, it’s often the smaller, lesser known, lesser publicised shows by as yet undiscovered artists that are far more enjoyable for me: where a) you can see the work because you aren’t crushed by the throngs of other people who have heard about it too and b) the work itself consists of only a few select pieces so that you are actually able to take them in.
Don’t get me wrong, of course it can be great to experience an artists’ entire oeuvre, especially if it’s someone like David Hockney‘s, which is so varied in scope and ideas. But sometimes, seeing it all at once is just a bit too much. Personally, I usually feel far more enriched by contemplating just a few pieces. Sometimes these are ‘gems’ which have been picked out by a curator, but of course, it is entirely subjective what they present to you as the very best example of what an artist can do.
But in the case of an art student, the work you will see is always subject to what they are currently doing and is in this way truer to how they wish to be represented. Students who curate their own work can offer an insight into the ideas that are bouncing around their studio right now, and what could be more exciting than that?
Psi Scott is an 18-year-old artist hailing from Bangkok, Thailand and currently halfway through his freshman year at none other than Tim Burton‘s alma mater, Cal Arts. On Saturday January 17th, I had the opportunity to interview Psi over a delicious brunch at one of ArtAttack‘s fave LA spots, Salt’s Cure. Between my overly ambitious bites of griddle cakes, I managed to ask the Disney aficionado and major Britney Spears fan, a few questions from his beginnings in art, to his favourite animated film and of course, tips he could give to anyone considering the top Character Animation program he now calls home. Continue reading →