Maybe the most deceptively talented artist of her generation; Amalia Ulman's most well known piece, Excellences and Perfections initially flew under the radar, as the artist engaged in a five month long Instagram-based piece of performance art. Part fairy tale, part dystopian fantasy, images from Excellences and Perfections are going on display at the Tate Modern and Whitechapel galleries this Spring. Amalia also recently made Forbes 30 under 30 list, alongside Petra Cortright and Athena Papadopoulos, and exhibited new video works during Frieze London last year.
The artist behind one of last year's most breath-taking exhibitions, Chinese artist Zhang Ding's mutating sound sculpture, Enter The Dragon,was a week-long battle of the bands taking place in the ICA's theatre, featuring a line-up of some of London's most exciting musical talent playing in a hall of mirrors inspired by the final fight scene of Bruce Lee's Enter The Dragon. It was a wonderful attack of noise and ideas that dealt with exoticism, the other, and the Chinese art scene. We are incredibly excited to see what this stand out young Chinese artist produces next.
Hannah Perry's Mercury Retrograde at London's Seventeen Gallery was one of last year's best exhibitions, a multi-disciplinary multi-sensory trip through the audio-visual vocabulary of British 90s youth; yet it was plaintive rather than nostalgic, subtle rather than brash, full of love and sadness in equal measure. Hannah is easily one of the most singular, brightest and thought provoking young artists working in the UK right now.
Possibly the stand out art work at Frieze last year was by young, London-based artist Samara Scott, with her work attracting high praise from pretty much everyone who saw it. Samara Scott dug a square trench into The Sunday Painter's booth, and filled it with water and detritus, all floating precariously and flatly in the solution in a magical and complex manner that you could get lost in for hours; part trompe l'oeil, part sculptural intervention, totally beautiful.
Prem Sahib's Side On at the ICA was the RA grad and rising art star's first solo show at a UK institution, taking the gay underground to the mainstream via minimalist sculptural installations of tiled surfaces, pressed puffa jackets, and talcum powdered dancefloors. It's always interesting to see where young artists go next after reaching such a high point in their careers, which is where Prem stands now.
New Yorker Jeanette Hayes' painting melds art history with internet culture, featuring right-now references and social media anxieties rubbing up against high Renaissance paintings; locked iPhone screens with oil painted backgrounds, model selfies reimagined as maximalist emoji collages, anime characters slip into classic modernist paintings, images from art history struggle to climb out of . Jeanette has also found herself something of a fashion industry darling, collaborating with Proenza Schouler and Opening Ceremony.
Goldsmiths grad Athena Papadopoulos's solo show at the Zabludowicz last year was a series of totem pole esque pillow sculptures, shaped like bodies, and crafted using untraditional materials, ranging from Berocca to wine. Drawing on abject art and abstract expressionism as well as feminism discourse and issues relating to domestic space, Athena's work in quietly contemplative and beautifully crude.
Irish-born, London-based artist Yuri Pattison, formerly part of post-internet art collective Lucky PDF has been engaged in the Chisenhale Gallery's Offsite Create Residency since 2014, the results of which will be shown at the gallery in July this year. Continuing the artist's interest in the blur between the digital and the real, as part of the exhibition Yuri has been collating his research online at enquire.work, which is available to the public until the exhibition opens in July.
Another artist intensely interested in technology is Harry Sanderson, whose caustic light sculptures will be on display at Levy Delval Gallery in Brussels this month. First developed during a residency in Nottingham in 2014, and later shown at Christie's and Artissima in Turin in 2015. The sculptures refract rays of light through pieces of plastic, casting shadows as images upon the galleries. As well as being beautiful, technologically driven objects they are also a comment on the hidden digital processes that go into making up the technology we use.
Architecture/art collective ÅYR had a stellar 2015, exhibiting at Hannah Barry's Bold Tendencies, London's Project Native Informant gallery and taking on Frieze Projects too; all of which was a satire of the sharing economy, critique of aspirational interior perfection, and the symbolism of home life, told through installation, architectural model and 3D renders.
Surprise winners of last year's Turner Prize, Assemble have drawn criticism of the "is it even art" kind even from the kind of people who make art just to make Daily Mail art critics foam at the mouth. For this reason alone we can't wait to see what they have up their sleeves.
Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings
Recent graduates Hannah Quinlan and Rosie Hastings have been working under the on-going project @gaybar, running regular projects and events, most recently a New Year's Eve party at London's Penarth Centre, as well as engaging in a joint art practice together. Most of their work focusses on re-imagining the "gay bar" as a space of queer politics; their projects range from apocalyptic landscape renders taken from moments of queer cultural history to re-appropriations of the rainbow flag.
Aside from Wu Tsang's boychild starring A day in the life of bliss, Stewart Uoo's work was the standout in the ICA's Looks exhibition last year. His photographic works featured New York nightlife star DeSe Escobar in a dystopian sci-fi world; social media, the fashion industry, and gender politics all came under the artist's lens. His more recent work has incorporated deteriorated shopping bags from Hollister and Juicy Couture pressed together with pigeon feathers and cockroaches. It all adds up to a thrilling deconstruction of the politics of beauty and luxury.
Young, London-based artist Eloise Hawser presented her first solo exhibition, the abrasively delicate and meditative Lives On Wire at the ICA last summer. An installation combining film and sculpture, featuring an old cinema organ, and a video made in Burberry's Regent's Street flagship store of another old cinema organ; the exhibition was a thrilling clash between old and new. Recently Eloise has been on a residency in Las Vegas with David Raymond Conroy, producing new work for a stand out show at Zabludowicz Collection in March, also featuring i-D faves Korakrit Arunanondchai, David Blandy, Andrea Crespo, Simon Denny and Ed Fornieles.
Robert Zhao Renhui
Singapore-based, Camberwell-grad Robert Zhao Renhui most recently spent nine months sanding down a Banyan tree into a pile of sawdust by hand, the tree was scheduled to cleared to make way for Singapore's Management University. This tension, between the disappearance and transfiguration of nature forms the heart of Robert's art practice, which he often groups under the label of the fictitious Institute of Critical Zoologists. Primarily working in photography, Robert uses those photographs to build complex narratives about ecology and the environment.
Bangladeshi artist Shumon Ahmed works primarily in photography, his recent exhibition, When Dead Ships Travel, at Project 88 in Mumbai, was formed of two series of images dealing with the environmental and social damage caused by the ship breaking yards of Bangladesh. His images are elegiac, mournful, beautiful abstractions of landscape and forms, with Shumon relentlessly processing his images, uncovering experience instead of aiming for documentary truth. Shumon, along with Robert Zhao Renhui, is up for this year's Prudential Eye Awards, the winner of which will get a solo exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery later in the year.
Topics:art, culture, artists to look out for in 2016, amalia ulman, yuri pattison, harry sanderson, zhang ding, ayr, hannah perrt, samara scott, prem sahib, assemble, hannah quinlan and rosie hastings, gay bar, stewart uoo, eloise hawser, robert zhao renhui, shumon ahmed, jeanette hayes, athena papadopoulos, felix petty