Kim Booker, February 2018

This year’s 47 Bloomberg New Contemporaries artists arrived in London at the end of January. Hosted by Brixton’s Block 336 gallery, the queue on the opening night of the show stretched, quite literally, around the block. It was amazing to see such appetite and enthusiasm for contemporary art and particularly for emerging artists.


To be eligible, applicants must be final year undergraduates or postgraduates enrolled on a fine art degree in the UK, or graduates from the previous academic year. This year the selection was made by artists Elizabeth Price, George Shaw and Caroline Achaintre. We caught up with three of the artists to discuss their experiences of being selected as New Contemporaries 2017.

Both Sarah and Harriet have individual practices, but began working together on Plasma Vista in 2014. Originally intended as a promotional film for a business idea, Plasma Vista instead transformed into a tool through which the artists could collaborate. The experimental film explores utility, economics, production, creativity and aesthetics.


“The show opened in Newcastle, and that was really nice getting to know all the other artists, and it’s been a great boost for the film which is lovely, and it’s been a good opportunity for Instagram promos! Not having to install the piece was a huge luxury after years and years of having to install our own work.

Plasma Vista, 2016. 

HD video, 7 mins 31 secs.

A film by Sarah Cockings and Harriet Fleuriot

Director of Photography: Ed Tucker

Starring: Miss Cairo

Image Courtesy of the Artists

We had a dark corner in Newcastle which was a treat because the film is quite dark and surreal. A dark hole is the ultimate goal in terms of curation of the film; kind of a dark tunnel. The film is very bodily and strange. There is a lot of texture and sensation and different skin tones set on a dark background, so it sits well in a dark space.” 





Superman, 2016, Oil on canvas, 150 x 90 cm.

Image Courtesy of the Artist.

Invader, 2016, Oil on cardboard, 130 x 80 x 80 cm.

Image Courtesy of the Artist.

Tom Platt’s work has its roots in abstract expressionism and gestural painting and occupies the space between painting, sculpture and installation. He often works with cardboard and his piece Invader, a freestanding cardboard character, was borne out of the process of painting, so that the resulting work and the process of its creation are indistinguishable.


“This is my first experience of having art handlers - people turning up to the studio and collecting the work. It’s amazing to think that there’s an industry of people working to do stuff with the things you make. Until you have that first experience it’s all quite do-it-yourself." 



Melissa Magnuson works primarily with photography but also works in film. To create her sensitive and insightful images she embeds herself into communities, enabling her to “peel back the layers” and really get to see how those communities function.


“I grew up in Mississippi and that’s the location of this photograph. I haven’t lived there for many years but I started thinking about Mississippi as a place and the community there. For several years now I’ve been interested in how landscape and the power within a landscape forms the cultural identity and personality of the people within those communities. So I went back to Mississippi. Because I grew up there and because I haven’t lived there in a long time I was able to view the place with the eyes of an outsider. But I also had access to locations and places that other people wouldn’t go.


The image selected for the New Contemporaries exhibition was taken in Greenville Mississippi, which is about 90% African American. It was taken just outside a Sunday morning church service. I went to the church service that morning. I had permission from the pastor to go so I was shooting there and I met these women. I asked them if I could take their photo. We went outside after church and I positioned them in the street and took this picture. It all happened very quickly and they were dressed in white, I didn’t arrange any of that. They are sort of like the matriarch power people of the church, and I love that about these women. So this is just one image, there’s a whole series.”


Greenville, Mississippi, 2017. 118cm x 91 cm, Hand Printed Gelatine Silver Print of Fiber based paper.

Edition of 6 + 1 A.P + 1 E.C.

Image Courtesy of the Artist.