East Wing Biennial
Somerset House, Strand
London WC2R 0RN
The East Wing Biennial is the student-organised contemporary-art exhibition of the Courtauld Institute of Art, London. Based at Somerset House, The Courtauld is an independent college of the University of London, and one of the world’s leading centres for the study of the history and conservation of art and architecture, and its gallery houses one of Britain’s best-loved collections. The current East Wing Biennial Committee has been meeting since the beginning of 2015 and numbers approximately 40 students.
‘Faced with seminar rooms of such bareness, that the eye and mind revolted… I decided, by hook or by crook, to find some contemporary art to destroy all the vestiges of such nudity, and by this act restore to its rightful position art in everyday surroundings’ - Joshua Compston, 1991
This was the vision of Joshua Compston, student at the Courtauld Institute 1989-1992 and founder of East Wing. Titled the Courtauld Loan Collection, the first show opened on 27th November 1991 and exhibited the likes of Gilbert and George, Howard Hodgkin, and Damien Hirst, many of whom were recently graduated and stretching the boundaries of the British art scene.
Whether consciously or not, Compston provided a legacy for students of the Courtauld Institute, with the organisation of a biennial show occurring for the last twenty years. Never losing sight of the original concept of East Wing, the shows have progressed and bloomed into the vast project that we see today. Over the years themes such as the transitory nature of art, and the struggle of inner and outer self have been explored through a whole host of media crammed into the labyrinthine layout of the building.
The committee is headed by Poppy Field and Rebecca Anthony. Artificial Realities is curated by Poppy Field, Rebecca Anthony, Clara Krzentowski, Elvira Valdes and Jonathan Chaplow-Hanson.
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