Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2022 returns to the South London Gallery for the fifth consecutive year.
The exhibition this year features 47 of the UK’s most promising upcoming artists from art schools and alternative peer-to-peer learning programs. The 2022 cohort was chosen from a pool of over 1,500 entries by internationally acclaimed artists James Richards, Veronica Ryan, and Zadie Xa.
Veronica Ryan, New Contemporaries 2022 selector said, “It’s really important for emerging artists to get an early sense of how their ongoing practice will develop. New Contemporaries provides a really good way for artists to get a sense of the wider world, of what happens once you leave art school, of their contemporaries and of different colleges and alternate ways of thinking.”
Selected artists for Bloomberg New Contemporaries 2022 are: Lou Baker, Ashton Blyth, Adam Boyd, Tom Bull, Velvet Butler Carroll/Rudi Blu, Danying Chen, Josh Clague, Eugenia Cuellar, bill daggs, Francesca Dobbe, Charlotte Edey, Paola Estrella, Winnie Hall, Hamish Halley, Deborah Hobson, Eva Hopper, Steph Huang, Kneed—Ishwari Bhalerao and Leonie Rousham, Gabriel Kidd, Yun Kim, Sarah Lang, Akinsola Lawanson, Lorena Levi, Rudy Loewe, Catarina Ludovico, Jemisha Maadhavji, Leily Moghtader Mojdehi, Mehmil Nadeem, Abi Ola, Beverley Onyangunga, Ciara Otuokere, Meitao Qu, Bishwadhan Rai, Divya Sharma, Nicole Sheppard, Sherie Sitauze, Katie Surridge, Yukako Tanaka, Kialy Tihngang, Emma Todd, Rosalie Wammes, Theresa Weber, Andre Williams, Dawn Wilson, Zearo and Zish.
Adam Boyd, New Contemporaries 2022 artist said, “New Contemporaries has allowed me to continue the momentum from the culmination of my degree, vastly increasing the audience that will encounter my work. It’s a real privilege to show in such recognised institutions and to be introduced to a whole new cohort of artists.”
Presented thematically, the exhibition broadly explores “Portraiture of the Self and Others”; “Communication and Disconnection”; “Spirituality and Mysticism”; “Repurposing and Retro-futurism; and Reclaiming Spaces”—reflecting the cultural frameworks that inform each artist’s practice.
Portraiture of Self and Others: Jemisha Maadhavji’s work depicts people from many ethnic backgrounds, delving into their personalities and genders through symbolism and narrative. Maadhavji’s work is characterized by strong, bright colors and patterned textiles, and it is heavily influenced by fashion. Zearo’s painting style is autobiographical, examining his relationship to the male figure as impacted by his South-East Asian heritage and same-sex desire.
Communication and Disconnection: Rosalie Wammes’ terracotta sculptures are reminiscent of natural forms, with personal memories transformed into sound. Catarina Ludovico’s photographic technique is a continual exploration of self-discovery through the use of another physical body to express her own, with persons in her photos appearing divorced from the gaze.
Spirituality & Mysticism: Akinsola Lawanson’s short film Bosode delves into Ifá religion (a West African ethnic group’s religion), divination methods, and binary mathematics. Nollywoood horror and Nigerian magical realist literature inspired the film. Danying Chen’s work focuses on emotional bonding. Chen’s work examines how representations of gods, prayers, emotions, wants, and selfish desires are portrayed, recalling childhood recollections of her hometown’s Buddhist religiosity.
Repurposing and Retro-futurism: Emma Todd’s upcycled tracksuit kimono questions mixed cultural history, indigenous wisdom, and the concept of “returning to our roots.” Kialy Tihngang reimagines previous histories by speculating on new ones, fueled by a fascination with Retrofuturism and antiquated or “useless” technologies.
Reclaiming Spaces: Kneed—Ishwari Bhalerao and Leonie Rousham investigate structural violence, hostile bureaucracy, and collective histories that are ingrained in landscapes and institutions. In their collaborative socially engaged activity, they try to complicate engrained power dynamics. Deborah Hobson’s portraits of major Black political campaigns she has worked with, as well as well-known Black individuals in popular culture and those who have been disregarded or ignored, are all depicted in her work.
Also complementing the exhibition is the New Contemporaries 2022 Online Platform platform.newcontemporaries.org.uk, an online space for the artists to present their work beyond the physical show. Including artists’ works and biographical material, the platform also offers new, critical voices and fresh perspectives on New Contemporaries and the artists’ practices by early career writers.