In London's most glorious art venue, Somerset House, on 20th January 2012, the students of the Courtauld Institute will present their biennial contemporary art exhibition East Wing X: Material Matters to the public. The last 6 months have been spent contacting artists, selecting artworks, raising funds, gaining sponsors, organising transportation, designing catalogues and hanging works in preparation for this day. However, this exhibition is not just a student exhibition; we are delighted to welcome artists such as Rachel Whiteread, Howard Hodgkin, Simon Edmondson, Georgia Russell, Damien Hirst, Thomas Allen, Hugo Dalton, Arman, War Boutique, Philip Levine, Paula Rego and Slinkachu to East Wing X, with more soon to be announced.
The students have taken on the brave challenge of exhibiting the artworks in their actual learning environment. Arguably, the eighteenth century Courtauld interior is one of the most impressive set of classrooms in the country and this unconventional exhibition space has encouraged provocative approaches from artists. A previous East Wing show included an installation involving the dropping of raw bread dough through the central cavity of the spiral staircase. This year, East Wing X: Material Matters is a celebration of the material properties that have embodied contemporary art in the 20 years since its foundation, and this exhibition will further such deliberately avant-garde pursuits of materials and displays.
All too often the physical properties of an artist's work are secondary to the way in which we interact with them in any given space. East Wing X: Material Matters addresses this imbalance with an exhibition of the states of art: a discussion and exploration of the manifold physical characteristics of artistic production; the manner in which we read and receive radical changes in art's material world is the focus of our project.