Could a chair be a piece of art? Is the mere noise of a full concert theatre considered to be music? What about the Stormtrooper helmet? Is it actually a sculpture? Problems like these have been bothering us for a couple of hours during the Intellectual Property class. Not for a minute did I wonder though, whether in the Re-form exhibition in Southbank centre is actual art displayed. It is obvious from the very first creation, that this is an outstanding collection of paintings, sculptures, short films, poems and music. The awarded artists and copyright owners = prisoners, offenders on community sentences, secure psychiatric patients and immigration detainees.
The works are bursting with emotions. It is like the visitor enters the mind of the artist through a wide open window of art. Some creations emit an evident feeling of suffocation. An inmate crouching in his tiny cell, placed in the center of a giant snail. Others whisper a need to return back to time, as back as in a desired carefree childhood. A clay sculpture of an ice-cream cone. Other works of art hide unfulfilled needs, like motherhood. A powerful painting of a mother and daughter embracing each other. Some make sharp political and societal comments. A micrography of the world and its people, where domestic animals with suits pull the strings.
Headphones on a wooden box reveal the angelic voice of a woman singing a jazz song. From another box there is a male voice coming out. It is a poem speaking the agony of love in a calm and sincere tone. Another poem about the loss of a life partner on the wall made me cry, while a huge painting of the North Korean leader next to Micky Mouse made me laugh.
New hope, potent dreams, wise realisations depicted on the works contribute to the dynamic of this exhibition, which leaves the visitor richer in thoughts and feelings. Isn’t Art after all the best re-forming means?
P.s. Most of the exhibits are for sale. Of the price 25% is donated to Victim Support, 50% goes to the artist and the remaining to the Koastler Trust.
Next to the visitor’s book you can find sheets, which you can send to a specific artist with comments on his/her work. Needless to say I stopped writing letters only when the pen gave up on me.
1 OCT – 29 NOV 2015