Lowenna Valerie Waters

As we say goodbye to the noughties and welcome in a new decade, what are we to expect from a new era in British Art? It is now over 10 years since the media circus surrounding the YBA’s catapulted them to infamy, scandal and celebrity. Despite the huge advances made in the world of art, the public perception of British contemporary art seems somewhat stunted.

The future, technology and sci-fi are key, 21st century preoccupations

A new generation of artists have failed to attract such a frenzy of media attention, likely because they have abandoned the attention seeking ethos espoused by their predecessors. No more is art about shocking an audience into submission with a clamour of sensationalism, screaming sex, money and amorality.

Artists are opting for a more subtle, considered, complex vogue with an integral clarity that is calm, confident and understated.
A new decade of contemporary British art is already launching some really talented young artists, abandoning the market obsessed lacklustre period of post Brit Pop. There are talented artists from a wide range of disciplines tackling the modern world in a manner that resonates with truth, complexity and clarity.

Watch out for Matthew Borrows, Peter Lind Busk, Jed Croxon, Jade Strange, Nick Goss and a personal favourite Lindsay Seers amongst others. Lindsay’s work has usually been preoccupied with using her own body as a camera, with her lips as the apeture. Her bizarre picture taking did not satisfy her aim to portray experience, leading Seers to give up her lonely life as a camera and to develop her practice into trying her hand at being a projector instead.

Whilst talking to Hannah Barry this weekend, now considered one of the most significant figures in contemporary art, she offered me an insight into what to expect from contemporary art in the near future. “I think that there may be, on the one hand, artists who think about survival, ecology and biology and the reality of those things. On the other hand are artists who think about the fantasy of apocalypse. The ideas of the future, technology and sci-fi are very interesting areas, which are 21st century preoccupations, as apposed to war, despite so many wars going on right now, it is not such a major topic as it was in the 40’s or 50’s.”

Another area to watch out for is Eastern Europe. It is POLSKA! Year, pretty much doing what it says’s on the tin with a year of exhibitions celebrating Polish art and culture. The season kicks off with a showing of Miroslaw Balaks eerie and cerebral works, which reference up to date political issues with a continual anchorage and reference to his native land of Poland showing at Modern Art Oxford. His video installations at Modern Art Oxford in Topography are definitely worth a visit. Coinciding with the artist’s commission for The Unilever Series in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern, Topography is presented as musing on the human condition, with the beautiful images etched with an unnerving presence as they were filmed at Auschwitz Birkenau.

There is certainly a lot to see this year, and surely contemporary art will bring some new and welcome surprises!

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