Studio 14 Drawing Exhibition

Shiela Samsuri from Westminster's Studio 14 working on a temporary mural drawing inside the bookshop

Shiela Samsuri from Westminster’s Studio 14 working on Kalopsia, a temporary mural drawing inside the bookshop

Westminster University Studio 14’s drawing exhibition La Petite Mort will be on show inside the Portland Place bookshop until the 31st of July. This year’s research project explores the idea of Liberal Democracy through the design of archive buildings to house Parliamentary Acts. The end result is a collection of widely different and imaginative designs of Parliamentary Archives that explore different concepts within a singular topic. The proposal La Petite Mort, conceived by student Selay Aktolga, presents an archive factory where Uk citizens are inseminated with DNA coded with current Acts of Parliament. It employs the pleasure principle and the death drive as design principles to create a perpetual archive for the formation of a national consciousness and the development of a democratic, liberal citizenship.
One of my personal favourites is Farrah Ashiela Samsuri’s Kalopsia , meaning beautiful sight or with beautiful eyes, it depicts the idea of the Parliamentary Archive as Prison. Kalopsia suggests the idea of a Kafkaesque Penal Colony in which the Acts of Parliament are tattooed on the skin of prisoners, who will carry the physical embodiment of the very text of Law that led them to be incarcerated. In this way, kalopsia seeks to question democracy by asking whether ideologies can sometimes appear to be more beautiful than they really are. We invited Shiela to draw her proposal on our back wall in the form of a temporary mural. It took three days to complete and the end result is an impressive black and white, two-dimensional drawing of Kalopsia’s tattooing process.
The exhibition also includes examples from previous year’s drawing research, like Alex Jaggs’ Memory Clinic Theaomai designed for advanced stage Alzheimer’s patients, it draws on the idea of the mnemonic power of objects. Patients admitted to the clinic bring a collection of meaningful artifacts that trigger their memory. The objects are placed in different levels of the building mirroring the evolution of a particular memory within the patient’s consciousness until it gradually fades away. When the object’s associated memory is forgotten it reaches the top level of the clinic where it is incinerated. The smoke particles of  the burnt objects spread over the city until they gradually settle back down on the ground.
The exhibition was curated by Master of Studio 14 Gordon Shrigley and is accompanied by a catalogue containing this year’s projects. In it you’ll also find interesting drawings not included in the show, like Rupert Calvert’s pleasurable reading environments.  An almost theatrical graphic representation of a changing archive space that aims to dissipate the walls between reading room and storage, “opening up the archives into an internal landscape of moments, that celebrates the individual reader’s experience”.
The catalogue is available for sale in the bookshop and from  our website at £5.00.  If you’d like to visit the exhibition our opening hrs are Monday-Friday 9:30am – 5:30pm, Tuesdays open until 6:30pm and Saturday 10:00am – 5:00pm.

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