"From Floor to Sky" was a major exhibition of British art held at Ambika P3 Gallery, in Central London, in Spring 2010. The exhibition was curated by the influential teacher Peter Kardia and the 28 contributing artists were selected from the long list of his one-time students from both St Martin's School of Art and the Royal College of Art. Each artist was asked to contribute two pieces of work: one from the earliest period of their career and one contemporary piece.
In association with the show, A&C Black have published a hardback book which serves both as a catalogue for the exhibition and as a stand-alone publication. As well as illustrating the work of the contributing artists, this publication contains three extensive essays - one by Peter Kardia himself outlining his teaching philosophy, one by Malcolm LeGrice investigating the history of art teaching in general and one by Hester Westley examining Peter Kardia's teaching at St Martins in particular.
As part of the larger "From Floor to Sky" project two conferences were held during the period of the exhibition: one at Tate Britain and one at St. Martin's School of Art. On the evening of the 10th of March Tate Britain organised a panel chaired by Malcolm Le Grice which featured Peter Kardia and three of the participating artists; Jean Mathee, Richard Deacon and Richard Wentworth. On the 26th and 27th of March Central St. Martin's hosted a two day conference organised by Anthony Davies, which brought together the surviving three members of the teaching staff who set up the "A" Course at St. Martin's in 1970; Peter Kardia, Garth Evans and Gareth Jones. On the second afternoon members of the present teaching staff at Central St. Martin's made a presentation of their current teaching programme.
"From Floor to Sky" participating artists were: Alison Wilding, Bill Woodrow, Boyd Webb, Brian Catling, Carl Plackman, Carolyne Kardia, Frances Earnshaw, Gillian Cook, Guy Martin, Hamish Fulton, lan Kirkwood, Ismail Saray, Jean Matthee, John Hilliard, John Panting, Katharine Meynell, Keith Brown, Martin Ive, Nigel Slight, Nina Danino, Paul Etienne Lincoln, Peter Venn, Richard Deacon, Richard Long, Richard Wentworth, Roderick Coyne, Roger Ackling, Terry New.
When Roderick Coyne made the proposal for an exhibition of the work of students who I had taught during my career, with an approximate figure of between twenty-five and thirty, the immediate and obvious question that came up was; - how should this number of students be selected from the very large number that I had had contact with?. After a great deal of thought and a detailed review of all the records that I could access it became obvious that the notion of “diversity” was playing a very significant part in the selection process. Students in all the courses that I had been concerned with were always encouraged to tune into and follow their own creative needs even when the outcome was perplexing and demanding. Diversity was the key feature and I wanted the exhibition to reflect this.
Exhibition was held between 4th March and 4th April 2010 P3 gallery.
Two conferences were held associated with the exhibition “Peter Kardia: From Floor to Sky”. One was held at Tate Britain on the evening of 10th March, organised in collaboration with Tate Britain’s educational department and a second two day event was held at Central St. Martin's at the Charing Cross Road site on the 26th and 27th March.
The RCA Society will be launching a further 'From Floor to Sky' debate at the Royal College of Art. This will be part of the Society's celebration of the 40th anniversary of 'RCA Re-Defined' ('Yellow Paper' 1970) and its ongoing series of discussions about the future of art and art education.