Young London 2012

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lower res V22_Young London 2012_Jack Strange_All fish_2011.jpg
From Young London at V22 Jack Strange, All Fish, 2011

It would seem that 'young' artists have had to become factory workers. In order to unshackle their practices from a label of apparent immaturity, early career practitioners are frequently forced to churn out work after work, to be exhibited in a string of ugly, damp buildings long since outcast by the rest of society. White gallery walls and kindly lighting have been replaced by the misshapen concrete terrains of multistorey car parks, industrial estates, and in this case, an old biscuit factory. Testament to the ubiquity of this cold-hearted rehoming of the arts, it appears that London art is evolving in step with this condition. For what we see in this showcase exhibition of 25 of the city's leading-edge artists, is a series of commendably robust works of contemporary art.

Moving images dominate, with strong films from Benedict Drew, Hannah Perry, Johann Arens and Dan Walwin addressing nostalgia for youthful pursuits and compulsive behaviour, while paying close attention to the form of their filmic medium. An upscaled sculptural installation comes from Sara Nunes Fernandes, and Aaron Angell presents a huge wall-based collage. Even Rochelle Fry's bronze sculptures – the most delicate works on show – are mounted on weighty, architectural plinths.

Touching on sculpture and fashion, pieces by artist-collectives Peles Empire, Kernel and Lucky PDF each explore the reproduction and rendition of digital material. Each of these works represents a part of a greater whole – an approach also evident in many of the other artist's presentations.

Visually, these young Londoners have come to understand the demands of the post-gallery gallery, their bold works competing effortlessly with the cavernous surrounds of the old factory. These works are not mere spectacle however, and sensitive approaches to both ideas of longevity and medium ensure that complexity is not sacrificed in lieu of scale.

Botttom Line: More hothouse than warehouse: the kids are all right.


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