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Barbican launches digital group exhibition It All Comes Down

Graphics from the It All Comes Down digital exhibition

The Barbican and Guildhall School today unveil It All Comes Down, an online group exhibition featuring newly created works from 13 emerging visual artists on Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning’s Young Visual Arts Group programme. Produced during the Covid-19 lockdown, the exhibition showcases 70 artworks which explore the impermanence of social structures, the relationship between the individual and the collective and how the self is shaped by a dramatically changing world.

It All Comes Down spotlights work from artists Sam Ahern, Sneha Alexander, Rebecca Cromwell, Safiye Gray, Annie Lee, Becca Lynes, Emily Marshall, Molly Morphew, Defne Ozdenoren, Jordan Robertson, Lay Stevens, Vangelis Trichias and Arabella Turner. The artworks span various mediums including paintings, drawings, prints, photographs, films and installation, presented alongside writings from the artists, as well as images of the artworks installed at site specific locations across the Barbican Centre and Estate.

The visual identity and online experience of the exhibition was created by the group remotely and collaboratively through virtual ‘making sessions’ via Zoom due to the pandemic. The artists combined digital and analogue mediums to reflect the new way of working together in the digital space. It All Comes Down is the culmination of a year of workshops and discussions, supported by the groups’s artist mentor Jordan McKenzie.

Members of the Young Visual Arts Group said: ‘The title of the exhibition, It All Comes Down, was intended to convey that nothing lasts forever - be that structures, organisations, or relationships. This turned out to be uncannily prescient. Over the past months, more things have come down than anyone could have imagined. Many people have lost their loved ones, their jobs, their sense of security in the world. Still more people have taken to the streets, demanding change from a system that has proved itself broken. Although so much has been lost, new visions have risen from necessity - giving us the tools to express what we cannot countenance.

This exhibition has been conceived as part of Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning’s Young Visual Arts Group, an annual free programme which commissions a group of young creatives, aged 16-25, to work collectively towards a public exhibition or event, and develop their skills in curating, marketing, design and project planning. Members of the programme receive support from the Barbican Guildhall Creative Learning team, as well as professional artists and facilitators in developing their creative practice and ideas.

Full details of the artworks:

Sam Ahern explores autism-friendly spaces and the Covid-19 crisis through the mediums of illustration, photography and audio recordings. For the exhibition, she presents three interviews, a book of photographed signs seen during the pandemic alongside cartoon illustrations. 

While spending lockdown in the countryside, Sneha Alexander built wooden frames from fallen branches, recorded birdsong and the rush of woodland sound to create a series of lino prints which are then filmed in nature.

Rebecca Cromwell explores the link between personal experiences and time through the medium of film. Her work for this exhibition also includes collages (emit II, emit III and emit IV), a short film (emit V) and a sculpture (emit I).

Safiye Gray’s contribution, titled Gooseberries_Hands_20, are a pair of fabric prints photographed hanging in the Barbican Conservatory. Gray explores what it means to be lost in a moment in time and how that can explode one’s experience of a space.

Annie Lee’s collection of ephemeral ‘paintings’ present a new series created during the lockdown period, capturing spontaneous moments of life at home, and observations of the everyday. Rather than using traditional art materials, this project looks at how art can be made and defined through the use of more domestic surfaces and overlooked objects.

Setting pop culture artefacts against home footage, Becca LynesBecca Becomes a Real Girl; Chapter 1: True Love's Kiss is a three-minute race through childhood as a girl in the noughties. The resulting piece charts a collision course with a sinister destiny, propelled by the twin presence of rapid technological progress and an enduringly gendered romantic metanarrative. Lynes' work will be released episodically via the It All Comes Down website.

Emily Marshalpresents a book and sculptures that record journeys she has taken through the Barbican Centre over many months, using photographs and archival material to map out the ephemeral experiences that she has encountered within the architecture.

Molly Morphew’s work, Bird People, is a series of 21 sculptures made of discarded possessions, which Morphew collected throughout the year on her weekly walks in London and then assembled. The installation features a recorded poem and a performance of the artist spreading her wings and migrating from the Barbican’s landmark pavements-in-the-sky to street level.

Defne Ozdenoren combines photography and text to address themes of recovery and emotional healing, centring the importance of friendship and support. In this series she reflects on her personal experience and a friend’s experience of recovering from anorexia during the lockdown period.

Jordan Robertson presents Pity the Dark, a photo essay that loosely follows the stages of a transformative experience, featuring a palindromic series of images, including portraiture and motion studies.

Lay Stevens creates a sculpture with a projection, looking at how relationships between children evolve overtime in a council block setting, drawing in on her own experiences.

Vangelis Trichias uses symbols from club culture, queer culture, politics and the contemporary internet to explore themes of power and manipulation. Bareuropean is an experimental infotainment video that combines film, archive footage and digital masks to explore the manipulation of information and addresses the relationship between totalitarian regimes of the 20th century Europe and nudity, and how it correlated with social liberties.

Arabella Turner’s work considers how the self is formed and affected by technology, environment and neuroanatomy. For this exhibition, she presents a music video she created for the musicians D’monk and Ama Mizu’s new project Dilliahead.

The Barbican believes in creating space for people and ideas to connect through its international arts programme, community events and learning activity. To keep its programme accessible to everyone, and to keep investing in the artists it works with, the Barbican needs to raise more than 60% of its income through ticket sales, commercial activities and fundraising every year. Donations can be made here:

Guildhall School delivers world-class training to young artists from all backgrounds, and is ranked as one of the top ten performing arts institutions in the world. Now more than ever, we are looking to our community to enable us to provide the most talented students with the very best training. You can donate today to support the artists of the future: