Destruction Day

Destruction Day

Instead of simply looking at art, UCL students were today invited to take part in its destruction in a novel art exhibition that challenged artists to create pieces to demolish. Fionn Hargreaves explains.

As night fell on the Portico, Destruction Day kicked into action.

Participants were encouraged to melt, burn and tear the exhibits on show.

During the event run by UCLU Art Society, a cardboard house was torn down, a clay bust was attacked with feathers and paint, and a game of Shortbread Jenga came to a sticky end.

The one-off exhibition, organised by Second Year History of Art students Alice Procter, Olivia Bladen and Edith Dormandy, was inspired by a piece of art Edith made for last term’s annual exhibition, ‘Alchemy’.

Edith said, “I made a little clay sculpture painted gold who was holding a chain at the end of which was a hammer, and the audience were invited to smash the figure up with the hammer.”

Alice added, “It was really quite beautiful, and to watch the ways in which everyone destroyed it was really interesting. Everyone was so nervous and so careful!”

From conception to exhibition, Destruction Day has taken just over two months to plan.

Alice said, “Edith came over to my house in September and we brainstormed it over dinner. It kind of just all fell into place. Edith picked the date out of nowhere!

“The deadlines were quite tight, but that meant that all the ideas we had for the exhibition were only a few weeks old.

“Everything was so temporary. It all happened so fast, but that’s made it better, it still feels fresh.”

Destruction Day culminated in the burning of artwork in a brazier at the foot of the Portico.

Unfortunately, despite having prior permission, UCL Security deemed the fire to be a risk, and the flames were extinguished.

Despite this, Destruction Day proved itself to be a success amongst UCL students, showing how destruction can be a fun and dynamic way for people to engage with art.

A gallery of pictures of the event will be coming soon.

Featured image credit: Roberto Valdo Cortese

Fionn Hargreaves