Of all the annual art exhibitions, New Contemporaries causes the most debate among your dear Culture section. Take last year for example, which, in all honesty, annoyed the team here by celebrating a decidedly average selection, punctuated with a few truly wonderful artists (you can find our muted reaction here). This year, there is no mistaking it. The judges have hit on a winner. Forget the fact that it’s both themed and annual, they have put together one of the most interesting group shows of the year.
Selected this year by artists Nairy Baghramian, Rosalind Nashashibi and the duo Cullinan Richards, we can handpick a selection of artists from the twenty-nine artists who would be worth the entrance fee alone (a turn of phrase, you understand. It’s free). The Swiss-born Simon Senn is by far and away a Because favourite. His performance videos are delightfully esoteric while maintaining a balance between the playful yet menacing. Alongside Polish filmmaker Piotr Krzymowski, the Hong Kong-born Tony Law, Scot Oliver Osbourne, there are also some women. Most notably perhaps the two most exciting artists in the exhibition: Tara Langford and Lauren Godfrey. Langford’s a printmaker, Godfrey an installation artist who once could have put a 43-foot beached whale into the old Dicksmith Gallery at the bottom of Brick Lane. What’s great about this show is that practically all of the artists have a distinct aesthetic, craft and set of questions that they’re looking to explore. Like any good storyteller, it leaves you wanting more.
New Contemporaries 2012 is at the ICA until 13 January 2013.