East Wing Biennial 2018 

Dear Students


Now entering its thirteenth incarnation, East Wing Biennial is now open for committee applications.


As you will all know, Courtauld students have curated a biennial exhibition entitled either the East Wing Collection, or East Wing Biennial, with an additional subject title since its first incarnation as The Courtauld Loan Collection 1991.


The history of this exhibition goes back to the moment that The Courtauld moved into Somerset House in 1989/90 when a group of students, led by the late Joshua Compston attempted to remedy the ‘horror vacua [that was] experienced more than a year ago when faced with seminar rooms of such bareness, that the eye and mind revolted.’ Compston’s Courtauld Loan Collection was intended to ‘restore to its rightful position art in everyday surroundings’.


Since then, the exhibition, now known as East Wing Biennial, has become an established Courtauld tradition. Early exhibiting artists included Howard Hodgkin, Gilbert and George, Damien Hirst and others who had recently graduated and were at that very moment stretching the boundaries of the British art scene.  The list of distinguished artists has continued, and includes: Grayson Perry, Tracey Emin, Gavin Turk, Jeremy Deller, Yinka Shonibare, Edmund de Waal and Marc Quinn.


 East Wing Biennial has established a creative and exciting history, with past exhibitions being titled ‘Artificial Realities’, ‘Culture Bound’, ‘Looking With/Out’ and ‘Urban Networks’ amongst others. it offers an opportunity for Courtauld students to explore the contemporary art world and to gain valuable practical skills in preparation for a career in the arts sector. Previous heads of exhibition have gone on to work for companies such as Christies, Sothebys and Tornabuoni Art London.


The last East Wing Biennial, opened in January 2016 and closed at the end of March 2017.


We are keen to maintain this project and to ensure that it is an enjoyable and creative experience for students.  Over the past two years we have therefore been in discussion with the 2016-17 East Wing team and some previous East Wing teams about the best way to take the project forward, both in the short and in the longer term. 


Our aim is both to ensure that the experience of the project is a positive and useful one in terms of personal experience and career development, and in practical terms for the institution as a whole. 

For these reasons, and given our need to remain flexible in terms of Courtauld Connects forward planning, we propose that the 2018 exhibition take a slightly different format and modus operandi, that it be seen as a pilot, which can then be reviewed and the findings taken into account for subsequent years’ exhibitions.


We would now therefore like to invite Courtauld students about to enter BA years 2 and 3 to develop team proposals to undertake the exhibition, following the rubrics below.


Please do this using the attached form, by 18 September 2017


Please also note that there will be an interview discussion on the project proposal with the Director, Dean, Head or representative of The Courtauld Gallery and the Student Union President on a date in the week beginning 25 September (SPECIFIC DATE TO BE CONFIRMED). 

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