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RAE 2008

Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design

School of Saatchi, a BBC series on contemporary art

Cardboard Pavilion by Renato Nishimura

Heico Fasteners UK, a leading upholstery supply company in the UK

Mirei, an exhibition by Camilla Wilson and Mary Maclean


News and Events Archive: December 2009

London Metropolitan University supports the ‘School Of Saatchi’

London Metropolitan University has provided its creative facilities and expertise to ‘School Of Saatchi’ a four-part BBC Two series which explores the often-controversial subject of contemporary art. The series, which forms part of the BBC’s Modern Beauty Season, offers a unique look into the workings of the art world today while giving a fascinating insight into the creative process that goes into developing the art.

In ‘School of Saatchi’, Charles Saatchi selects six unknown artists and sets them up in their own East London studio for 10 weeks. To develop their talents, they are commissioned to make a series of ambitious artworks and will meet leading figures from the art world. Saatchi will, ultimately, select just one artist's work to join his exhibition, Newspeak – British Art Now, at the Hermitage Gallery in St Petersburg, and has also arranged for them to receive their own studio space for three years.

In the first episode, a shortlist of applicants bring their work to a London warehouse for scrutiny by Saatchi’s panel of experts – artist Tracey Emin, critic and broadcaster Matthew Collings, art collector Frank Cohen and Barbican curator Kate Bush. They choose 12, who will exhibit their work for Saatchi himself, from which six artists will then be picked to attend the art school.

In episode two, the chosen artists are required to create a large-scale public art commission in a traditional seaside town, following in the footsteps of some of Britain's greatest sea artists, such as JMW Turner and modern public sculptors including Antony Gormley. The six artists were given access to facilities, training and technical advice at both Metropolitan Works Creative Industries Centre and The Cass (The Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and design). This included both state of the art digital technologies and more traditional workshops.

Michael Upton , Academic Leader at The Cass said, ”It was great to be involved with the series. Contrary to the ‘X Factor’ tag which has been reported in some press reports, this felt like an arts programme with a more serious agenda. I hope it will get beneath the shock and hype surrounding contemporary art and artists and give viewers a more rounded understanding of the creative processes and hard work involved. The finalists were very sincere, talented individuals and we wish them all every success.”

School Of Saatchi is part of The Modern Beauty Season, a range of programmes on BBC Two and BBC Four which look at the concept of beauty in modern art. It is shown on Monday nights on BBC2 at 9pm for 4 weeks starting 23rd November. Watch Episode one here

November 19, 2009

Cass Alumnus prepares a Cardboard Banquet

Rentaro Nishimura, an alumnus of the MA Product Design course at The Cass (The Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design) was a key part of a team who created an extraordinary cardboard pavilion for a banquet to celebrate the new term at the University of Cambridge.

First and Third-year architecture students at the University of Cambridge under tutors Tom Emerson and Max Beckenbauer designed and constructed the pavilion as part of their study of ‘bricolage’ - the art of making do with whatever resources are at hand. Following a one-day workshop on paper folding techniques led by Rentaro, the third years set about designing the structure to house 80 people, while first years designed the furniture. The idea was developed in two weeks and built in just three day in Fellows Garden at King’s College, University of Cambridge- without the use of a single computer and in time for a celebratory banquet.

The spectacular project has recently featured in the Architectural Review and Icon Magazine. Rentaro, who also teaches at The Cass, won several awards while he was a student including the Metropolitan Works Best In Show, the Guy Beggs Prize and his work was selected to be shown at 100% Design as part of LIGHTEN UP. Since graduating he has worked as a designer on his own and as part of the WC Franck collective.

See the full story and images of the ‘Cardboard Banquet’ at the Architectural Review.

November 15, 2009

Upholstery students work with top manufacturer

Upholstery students at The Cass (The Sir John Cass Department of Art, Media and Design) are competing on a brief set by Heico Fasteners UK to create an innovative furniture design incorporating their new range of powder coated decorative nails. The company will use the winning work to showcase the range at the Interiors Exhibition at the Birmingham NEC in January 2010.

The competition has two stages. Students will present their concept using a ‘Mood Board’ including draft design ideas, materials and chosen nails. Individual designs will then be selected to go forward to production. The finished scaled down chairs will be judged by Joan Milton, the former president of The Association of Master Upholsterers & Soft Furnishers (AMUSF), and a winner selected to feature at the show. Heico will supply the nails for each students design as well as covering various material costs involved. As well as the showcase at Design Interiors, the winning student and two runners up will receive specialist upholstery equipment prizes.

Dave Read UK Sales Manager at Heico Fasteners UK said “We see this as the start of a long term relationship with the University and hope that this competition can become a regular event. We’re really looking forward to seeing the students ideas."

Michael Upton Academic Leader at The Cass said, “It’s great for the department and the students to be working so closely with a leading manufacturer, and all the more impressive given that this is an important new product launch for Heico. The winning student will benefit from a great showcase at Design Interiors.”

About Heico Fasteners:
Heico Fasteners UK Ltd are a leading upholstery supply company in the UK and have been working with the Upholstery and Furniture trade for the past 60 years. They are a member of the Theo Heimann Group which is the largest manufacturer of upholstery and decorative nails in the world with 100 years of experience in nail production.

November 2, 2009

Mirei Exhibition

Exhibition: Mirei
Private View: Tuesday 8 December, 6-8pm
Dates & Times: 9 December - 15 January,
Tuesday-Friday 12 - 5pm
(Gallery closed 22 December - 5 January)
Veneu: Unit 2 Gallery, The Cass, LMU, 59-63 Whitechapel high Street. London E1 7PF

Mirei proposes a pairing between the work of Mary Maclean and that of Camilla Wilson.

Mary Maclean’s photographs focus on the architecture of public and private space, suggesting an inversion of the habitual priorities of looking, bringing to the surface what might otherwise be disregarded aspects of institutional space. Materially they involve combining the photographic image and semi reflective surfaces to construct a changeable and illusive reading of interior space. These approaches serve to intensify the act of looking, introducing an interaction with the viewer.

Camilla Wilson’s paintings deal with the representation of interior spaces, some glimpsed and fractured in mirrors. The interiors themselves provide small stages of a sort, presenting an illusion of completeness, undermined by internal repetitions, reversals, other interruptions, or projected light, which break the seamlessness of pictorial space.

From a material standpoint, the pairing of these two artists raises the inevitable contradiction in the nature of the surface, in tension between the flatness of Modernism’s ‘canvas’, and the endless relay of representational space provoked by reflection.

Download Press Release mirei-press-release.doc

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