newcontemporaries was established in 1949 to provide a platform for British art students and recent graduates to exhibit their work professionally and over the decades has helped launch the careers of almost every major contemporary British artist, including names such as Damien Hirst, Chris Ofili, Mike Nelson and Jane and Louise Wilson. Hosted traditionally in either Manchester or Liverpool before moving to a London exhibition, it this year returns to the ICA, its home for twenty-five years between 1964 - 1989.
Mexican artist Gabriel Kuri, 2008 Turner Prize-winner Mark Leckey and painter Dawn Mellor, a former S&M cabaret performer and painter of grotesque celebrity portraits, form the panel of judges who have chosen this year's 49 artists from the diverse selection of British art schools who can claim their place among the great and the good (and worse) of post-war British art.
Amongst the them is Lebanese artist Caline Aoun from the Royal Academy, who uses inkjet printers and everyday materials such cardboard tubes, Somerset paper and the old Pink'un to make colourful wall drawings and sculptures that tackle the mechanics of how images are created nowadays. Or there's Nathan Barlex from the Royal College of Art, whose gloopy paintings are layered so thickly with oils, resins and bees wax that the images appear as psychedelic mutant forms melting from the canvas.
From the Slade School of Fine Art there is Ed Atkins, filmmaker and writer of unrealised screenplays. Goldsmiths gives us filmmaker (and former director of tank.tv) Laure Prouvost, who recently exhibited her video IT, HEAT, HIT - a frantic video-montage of storytelling, pictures and films of everyday events such as a frog swimming in a pond - at Tate Britain. And we even have sculptor and performance artist Pablo Wendel, who caused a media furore in 2006 when he dressed up as a terracotta warrior and joined the clay army in China's ancient capital Xian - until he was discovered and dragged away by the authorities. Wendel once again caught the attention of the press this summer when he squatted in a derelict Battersea fish and chip shop for his Royal College of Art degree show, only to have the staircase into his installation dismantled by staff on health and safety grounds. In addition to the venue exhibitions, this year sees a record number of exhibiting artists working in film and video, and a curated selection will be screened on tank.tv in December.
Bloomberg newcontemporaries 2010 was at A Foundation, Liverpool, from 18 September - 15 November and is at ICA, London, between 24 November - 16 January, 2011.
images: still from A Thousand Centuries of Death, Ed Atkins (2009), courtesy the artist. still from Rain Translation, Jessica Harris (2009), courtesy the artist. still from In Ictu Oculi, Greta Alfaro (2009), courtesy the artist.