Spider Bondage and Litter Furballs at The NTU Festival

Jacob Seelochan

Photo by David Baird (www.david-baird.co.uk)

Fine art students are always people to be jealous of. They can draw. They can paint. They usually dress well. They’re always the people sat opposite you on the bus that make you want to reconsider your life choices and leave it all for a world of lust, love and paintbrushes. And that feeling was once again created by Nottingham Trent University’s newest exhibition, Stories in the Dark.

The NTU Festival was set up 4 years ago to let the Fine Art students at Trent express their skills in a public space, as any established artist would. They are given an overarching stimulus and choice of art forms, and then simply asked to create a striking piece – ­ a message obviously taken to heart by many. From spider­-like bondage to litter-­picking furballs, the two floor exhibition was jammed with ferocious explosions of work, which couldn’t have taken me further away from the real world and innocent nursery I had passed on the way.

Downstairs, works by Collins, Edwards, Madders and Walsh were on display awaiting my arrival. Which, I might add, took triple the expected time due to Surface Gallery’s only sign being a chalkboard in the rain on the pavement outside. But as soon as I found the gallery’s oddly­ orange shop front and stepped in, the skill and narratives present in exhibit A, The World is Round​, hit me like a large hammer with the word ‘ART’ marked across it.

Litter, over-consumption, over-population, normality and nature naturally all came to mind, and that was without any information or cue cards beforehand. The gallery – ­ or should I say room with a single man on his laptop – ­ was an open space containing my favourite pieces. This included a tape circle surrounding the word ‘Out’, for example, with ‘In’ some distance away (a reference to odd being the new normal, perhaps?). And also a collection of everyday litter balled up using rubber bands – ­ which I’m sure had a back-story that would’ve definitely helped in analysis. *Hint hint, provide a booklet next time, hint hint*.

Moving up two flights of stairs, I reached the video installations by Heald and Fletcher, which surrounded the aftermath of a performance being replayed on the wall. Straw covered the wooden floor, and flood lights lay around several gimp­-like DIY spider suits that encircled what only could be described as a ball of blackness… This setting made me ponder if the single man on his laptop downstairs would soon come up and start mutilating me CSI-style. But fortunately, after watching a video of the performance and researching into the Egyptian stories of hiding the sun in the Underworld, I gradually came to realise that my near­-death experience was closer to just a demented form of dress-­up. The large ball was not in fact home to a serial killer ­ – but rather just a symbol of the darkening world we live in. Oh well.

In short, viewing this exhibition was undeniably as enjoyable as creating it must have been. The gallery contained several thought-­provoking pieces fit for future development, whilst the videos of gloopy oil and Egyptian ceremonies were eerie and well­ designed. The students showed passion for their area of study too, and they gave hope to the future creative sector in Nottingham. So top marks all around.

NTU festival

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s