Slipping The Net

January 2020

‘Slipping The Net’

A Collaborative Work by Alex Lewis and Marc Prats

27th January  – 22nd February 2020

"Slipping The Net" was the title of a collaborative work between Alex Lewis, Marc Prats and Robert Young Antiques. This is the sixth in a series of Contemporary Collaborations, showcasing works by emerging artists, exploring relationships between historic and modern works of art. 

The title refers to the way in which objects pass through or escape the annals of history for mainstream consumption. The Robert Young Antiques collection draws upon forgotten or underappreciated Folk Art objects. The final product of this collective endeavour is a large scale mixed media painting on raw canvas, suspended from a mild steel frame. This work depicts several objects found in the Robert Young Antiques collection in our respective painterly styles. The main idea we want to explore through this work, is the notion of craft-based objects as social agents. We are particularly interested in the social dynamics that take place when an object of this sort is produced, used, donated, sold, bought or resold. 

As part of their research for this project, Marc and Alex made a trip to the British Museum and met Alexander Villings - the curator of the Greek and Roman Collection. Amongst many things, they learned that despite its status as a ‘fragile medium’, clay and the clay-based glazes can survive the test of time, whereas iron, wood and fabric perish. They also learned that, contrary to popular belief, craftsman enjoyed a certain status within the social hierarchy of ancient Greece, and that they often signed their pieces. Many ceramic objects destined to occupy the tombs of esteemed members of society, were made and decorated by several craftsmen; something that resonated with them given the collaborative nature of the project. Finally, they also found out that the British Museum tends to exhibit pieces that are whole and thus visually spectacular, in order to keep visitors interested, however substantial research is conducted behind closed doors on fragments of objects to a achieve a better picture of how such artefacts were used.

Marc Prats is a London-based artist born in Barcelona in 1995. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Liberal Arts and Sciences from Utrecht University, a Master’s Degree in Art History from Leiden University, and is currently completing a Painting MA at the Royal College of Art and his work is on show in the WIP Show (London) 2020. He has exhibited internationally, with his most recent solo shows at the foundation ‘Amics de la UNESCO’ in Barcelona (Spain) in 2019 and at ‘Palau de la Diputació’ in Tarragona (Spain) in 2018.  

Alex Lewis is also currently studying MA Painting at the Royal College of Art. He has exhibited nationally and has artwork in collections in New York. He has curated and taken part in in solo and group shows such as the RCA WIP Show (London) 2020, Playground (London) 2019, Spaceship.Dungeon.Zoo (London) 2019, Art for All (London) 2019 and Simmer (London) 2018. His work was selected for the the 250th Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, curated by Grayson Perry RA, with works in rooms hung by Phyllida Barlow RA and Conrad Shawcross RA. One of the paintings was selected for Kathryn Oliver’s Top 6 Picks (RA Sales Director) and featured online. He undertook a month-long residency on Antony Gormley’s estate in 2018.