Utopia

Upon finding out today that my baby cousin got killer Alevels, I was reminded of a exhibition I saw last week at the Camden Roundhouse.
Penny Woodcock has teamed up with Block 9 (they’re responsible for that mad crazy club stage whatever thing at glasto) to create a huge installation in the Camden Roundhouse’ main studio called Utopia, with themes based loosely on the book by Thomas More.
Woodcock has basically spent the last 2 years walking Camden and its surrounding areas collecting stories from its locals.
‘There isn’t time or space to pay attention to the journey of another person; unless it’s a celebrity’ – Reuben
This struck me because it’s so true. Celebrity has taken over even the deepest places of our minds. Not necessarily just the famous, but our own quest for celebrity. Our own dark obsessive nature over how we are recognised by others.
Penny deals with these issues but also delves into the issues that arise within the different stories.
My brilliant fresh minded 18 year old cousin Lauren and her Alevel results brought me back to Utopia because Lauren got 2 As for history, an A & a B for sociology, and a D for health and social care. In one of Utopia’s stories a young man tells of his struggle for teachers to give him the opportunity to excel whilst he was at school. Told because he was in lower sets he’d never be able to do his Alevels, he’d have to do Health and Social Care.
Ofcourse there’s nothing wrong with Health and Social care, but to force it on someone as a means to spend as little time on them as possible is the issue here. I was happy with Lauren’s D. Because that D represents a new generation of young black women who come from the inner city schools of London who won’t allow there lives to be dictated by people who have made no effort to get to know them.
With the growing issue of jobs going to the upper classes and not those most qualified no matter their background, I’m surprised these kids even find the motivation to carry on fighting. I know I struggle with it.

Another girl tells the story of her transition from Uni into the real world. This constant fight to stand out amongst this forever flowing emergence of new artists, new talent.
Her facebook feed full of friends getting their dreams jobs whilst she trails behind, obsessed with her image, sleeping around to give her life meaning. Your 20s can be tough and social network only takes that pain and mother fucking multiplies it. We are all so self absorbed now and so unaware of what is important. I don’t have a clue.
But Utopia will tell you, as will my baby cousin…
‘There’s more to life then trainers’ 

Utopia is only on until the 23rd, it’s not one to miss.

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Grayson Perry at the National Portrait Gallery

Grayson Perry is the unique multitalented, multi representational (a well known cross-dresser, supporter of the labour party, currently resides in London with his wife and daughter) artist from Chelmsford who has touched people across the UK with his artwork. Last Autumn – and yes I am so late with this exhibition but you still have a few weeks to catch it and if I were you I absolutely would! – Perry had a series of three sixty-minute films broadcast on Channel 4 titled ‘Grayson Perry: Who Are You?’  In unison with this Perry has put on an exhibition at the National Portrait Gallery.

Fourteen art installations have been positioned amongst the first floor nineteenth and twentieth century rooms. Much of Perry’s work centres around ceramic vases but he is also known for his intricate quilting & crazy cool dress designs! His work is sensational as every piece (that I’ve seen) has a genuine narrative. Specifically with his ‘Who are you?’ exhibition which deals massively with identity and our place on this earth. Each piece narrates this journey by channelling real people and their stories, as individuals, couplings and groups. Below are some of my favourite pieces.

Modern Family

Modern Family

Jack and John; a gay couple who have adopted a mixed-race child. Not only is the piece aesthetically stunning with attention to detail that is just mesmerising, but for me the subject matter is one close to my heart. Any good person, or pair, are worthy of parenthood in my eyes, no matter race, gender or sexual orientation. Being a mixed race (total) babe, I understand my parents getting the old side eye in the street when I was a kid.

Melanie, Georgina And Sarah

Melanie, Georgina And Sarah

Three women who according to Perry are ‘big and proud’! He’s chosen to portray them in a somewhat ‘hieratic’ form which I think is great because to me a fuller figure represents fertility, sass, wisdom, and a hearty appetite – four things that should definitely be worshipped.The juxtapositional element here being that the figures are made up of a number of images of female ‘perfection’ and different types of food. ‘Nothing tastes as good as skinny feels..’ – well err i’m a size 12 and I feel f***ing GREAT!

photo 4

Memory Jar

This was beautiful. An elderly married couple, Christopher & Veronica Devas; Christopher is suffering from Alzheimer’s. Photos transferred onto the vase were images, or memories one might say, of their time spent together. On the back of the vase (why didn’t I get a photo) was a demon with a pair of scissors hacking away at the photos. My nan had alzheimer’, it’s one of the most heartbreaking things a person can suffer through. True loss of identity.

I’m writing too much so basically get your butts down to this. Only a couple weeks left and it’s really quite amazing. Follow Perry on twitter  & heres the link to the National Portrait Gallery