Babak Ghazi and Brian Chalkley have a particular mantra they say to students on the Chelsea MA Fine Art course they lead. It goes like this:
“WHERE ARE YOU IN THE WORK?”
Every year, the new students are invited to turn their practice on its head, using a different medium or format than you are used to.
If you are a painter, you may be encouraged to make sculpture. If you are a sculptor, you may feel inclined to make video. If you are an installation artist, why not make an artist’s book, for instance. If you normally work on a small scale, work HUGE. If you normally work on the wall, work on a desk. If you normally work on an easel, work on the floor. You get the idea.
The exercise is in allowing yourself to become an Anti-Master on this Master’s Course, which many students find to be very uncomfortable, at first.
But the point is to shake up your habitual art practice. Explore the in-between places between art and life. Bring your hobbies into your work. Your fetishes. Bring in your shame. Shame is good for art-making. Let go of the idea of making ART. Explore. Experiment.
There are other courses out there that are for honing your skills in one specialism and making slick, market-ready work. Chelsea is about making work that is unpredictable, surprising, and maybe a little dangerous.
That feeling of flying by the seat of your pants – hence the title! Only we queered it up a little, to reflect the risk-taking, personal ticks and, perhaps, peccadillos into the work.
Enjoy the show through two different pairs of eyes:
Photos above by Ana Pastor.
Photos above by Chel Logan.