The Odious Smell of Truth
19–21 April 2017
RCA, Hockney Gallery, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU
2–6pm daily. Free admission.
The Royal College of Art RAGE Collective, made up of International, EU and British RCA Fine Art students working together with Peter Kennard, RCA Senior Tutor, present The Odious Smell of Truth. This group exhibition offers a timely opportunity to see how emerging artists are reacting to global issues, ranging from populism, national identity and human rights to demagoguery, war and economic crisis.
Peter Kennard, Britain’s most important political artist, will present work on economic inequality, nuclear build up, President Trump and the state of the nation. Stemming from his influence and drawing on their own international standpoints and personal histories, students will present new politically charged artworks in the form of print, installation, sound, video and paint.
Together, Mark Langston (Moving Image) and Eugenia Popesco (Print) consider the state of the nation and present Poundland, a film that documents the contemporary and historical context of Prince Charles’s new village of Poundbury in Dorset and captures meetings with some of the people who live there. Eugenia Popesco will also exhibit We’ll Die in the Class We’re Born, a mixed-media installation made in direct response to the Brexit vote, featuring a sculptural replica of a tank trap from the Second World War, printed to look like a fairground toy. Whilst Tamara Kametani (Contemporary Art Practice) comments on the EU asylum policies and Francis Olvez-Wilshaw (Sculpture) addresses economic collapse.
Shinyoung Park (Print) and Hyun Kim (Sculpture) explore corruption and internalised power in South Korea. Hyun Kim uses photo decoupage and collage to dramatic effect. Similarly, Amy Cornfield (Print) uses photomontage alongside installation and graffiti to address the complexities of heritage and the persistence of racism in South Africa.
In a powerful work, Filipino artist Rhine Bernardino (Sculpture) gives a human face to the 7,000 victims of President Rodrigo Dutere’s ‘war’ on drugs in the Philippines by laboriously taking individual rubbings from peso coins to create a total of 7,000 prints, each one as unique as the victims they represent. In another evocative work, Amale Khat (Print) uses sound and video to reconstruct of war memories through a fugue of voices and images.
Bonnie Wong (Print) uses comic strip to reflect the farcical nature of public speeches as portrayed in the media, such as by Donald Trump or during the pro-police rally in Hong Kong. As a direct response to contemporary American politics, Paul Coombs (Moving Image) presents a new American flag where the stripes flip to become bars and Camilla Mora Scheihing (Print) explores the precise moment when an act of government alters the lives of its citizens forever, by staging a coup or building a wall.
The RAGE Collective is a group of MA Fine Art students working with tutor Peter Kennard who are are deeply concerned and angry about the state of the world. The exhibition The Odious Smell of Truth is the first public show of the collective’s work. Through a number of group meetings over the last few months, debating the role of the artist in the current political climate, the students have made work reflecting on both international issues and the political situation in their country of origin.
Octavia Reeve in Conversation with Peter Kennard and RAGE Collective: