Student in van of motorised art movement: Exhaust-fume sculpture dominates 'involved' degree-show works. Dalya Alberge reports

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The Independent Online
THE ART student who caused a bit of a stink within the Royal College of Art last year when he created an abstract out of his faeces is this year doing it with exhaust fumes. Tim Noble is among students graduating with an MA this summer and displaying the products of their two- year postgraduate course at the Degree Show.

In his latest work, Transporter, he has suspended the engine of his van so that it hovers above a replica of his mother's kitchen table (made by himself): he has positioned it so that fumes are pumped out of the gallery. Although Glynn Williams, his professor, said that the contraption had been checked by a safety officer, something unpleasant seemed to be pumping into the gallery.

The work - which features a map, a loaf of bread and a flask of coffee, laid out on the table - is, according to the artist, a comment on travel: with his car immobilised, he cannot visit his mother. A car repair manual, open at page one, is displayed on a far wall.

Transporter is for sale at pounds 6,325: Professor Williams explained that the price reflected the fact that if he sells the engine from his van, 'he has got to buy a new van'.

An interest in the human body and a sense of the macabre seem to be a recurring theme. Rachel Chapman said she was thinking of bodily fluids when she filled a PVC mattress-size bag (spot- welded to resemble an upholstered mattress) with 350lb of marmalade. However, as it is impossible to tell what the orange-brown substance is, Ms Chapman said: 'I should have used medium-shred.'

Professor Williams described Ms Chapman's work as 'very beautiful'. He said of her marmalade piece: 'The presence, the sensuousness . . . There is a sense of softness, yet the floor gives it its firmness.'

He added that most of the students 'are exhibiting a very high level of involvement'. Jessica MacKinnon was showing Eurydice, a work in which she had wrapped a pink shower-curtain around a pillar of white tiles. 'It's about Euridice . . . and Orpheus, who was forbidden to look at her,' she said. 'It's also about taking off underwear in a clinical situation.'

Peter Blake, the pop artist, was among the visitors. It was quite an accolade for Sophy Tilson, who sculpts convincing portraits in cement, to be singled out by him as a particularly interesting artist. He said that she was the class of '94's only traditional, figurative sculptress who also draws. He expressed his relief that such skills still exist.

She said she was relatively unusual among her contemporaries in that she was influenced by the Old Masters and regularly visits museums.

(Photograph omitted)

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