Private View

As expected the exhibition ʻFrom Floor to Skyʼ curated by Peter Kardia attracted huge interest at its opening night at P3 Ambika Galleries in London. The gallery was packed with hundreds of visitors including artists, students, and lecturers of all ages. The large turnout was a significant response to what is a signifying exhibition. Read article on exhibition opening and see photos of exhibition opening.

ʻFrom Floor to Skyʼ deals with a unique moment in the history of both art and art education by juxtaposing selected works from a number of artists who were studying at St Martins School of Art and the Royal College of Art during the 1960s - 80s alongside their more recent works. Central to the exhibition is Peter Kardia, who with a number of other tutors at St Martins and the RCA is recognised as (an) ʻarchitectʼ of the shift that ocurred during that 20 year period in art education and subsequently in art practice: from the setting of specific criteria for student intake and the re-structuring of arts courses the level of intellectual discourse and practice took on a new dynamic. The ʻatkinsonʼ approach was purposeful - it ʻunfixedʼ established domains and boundaries that prevailed at that time within the art schools. The 1960s has a reputation (albeit now observed through ʻrose tinted glassesʼ from a safe distance) for instigating social, economic, political and cultural shifts. New attitudes and approaches particularly in the creative arenas of art, music and media took hold. Art schools were no longer the domain of genteel hobbyists they became places where intentions crossed boundaries and traditions. Now, cross disciplinary practice is an accepted way of working and the blurring between technique based painting, sculpture, photography, film is no longer an issue. Or is it?

The lead course at St Martins was closed down during the 1970s and ʻEnvironmental Mediaʼ at the Royal College of Art was closed down in 1984. The purpose of the exhibition is to show where and how this shift got going and how its influence lives on.

Peter's Opening speech

I would like to thank you all for coming to the opening of this exhibition It is a great pleasure to see so many people coming to see the work that has been selected. We are fortunate to have this large and spacious gallery in which to show the work; this was made available through the efforts of Michael Maziere the Ambika P3 Curator, with his staff, in particular Christian Newton and Jonathan Samuels, undertaking in the most effective way the construction of appropriate spaces for the work to be shown.

I would particularly like to thank Roderick Coyne; it was Roderick who came up with the initial idea for the exhibition; he has worked unceasingly in dealing with the diverse organizational problems and without his determination and effort this exhibition would not have taken place. Together with Roderick I would also like to thank Carolyne who also undertook many of the organizational and communication problems dealing with them in a determined and inventive manner that I found extremely helpful particularly when significant difficulties arose. I would also like to thank Alison Stace from A&C Blacks ,where the publication concerning the exhibition was produced, for her support and all the detailed analysis she undertook. Lastly I would like to thank all those who agreed to show work in the exhibition involving as it has, much work and effort and for this I am very grateful.

Having taught for many years I have of course had contact with a very large number of students and it was an extremely difficult but also very interesting task to select those whose work should be shown. I have already said we are extremely fortunate to be able to show in this spacious gallery, but my journey through the selection process, when I was recalling particular students work, made me wish time and time again, that there was even more space.

I very much hope that this exhibition, which perhaps will give some indication of many of the factors that I have struggled with throughout my teaching career, will make a positive contribution to the notions that must guide art education if it is to meet the demands that genuine aesthetic experience makes on art practice.

I am sure that you will not want to spend more time listening to me; the work is here to be examined and experienced and so remembering the time available I will now encourage you to begin your journey around the Gallery.

From Floor to Sky Exhibition

Date: 5 March - 4 April 2010
Exhibition open Wednesday to Sunday.
Opening hours: 10.00 to 18.00
Admission free.

University of Westminster,
35 Marylebone Road,
London NW1 5LS.
Nearest tube Baker Street
Tel: +44 (0)20 7911 5876

One of the capital's hidden and most exciting newspaces
The Guardian, March 27, 2008

The venue is extraordinary. Who would have thought that across from Madame Tussaud's lay the 14,000 sq ft of an underground hangar, once used to test concrete for Spaghetti Junction and the Channel Tunnel?
Geoff Brown, The Times, April 16, 2008

P3 is a 14.000 square ft space developed from the vast former concrete construction hall for the University 01 Westminster's School of Engineering. Built in the 1960's, its dramatic and impressives scale offers opportunities for a range of creative activities involving the academic community from the Schools of Architecture and Built Environment, and Media, Arts and Design.