Immediately after my studio visit, I took the last flight to London to conduct an auction there the next day. I therefore never saw the gallery show and had no idea how the two groups and the individual artists had reacted to the pandemonium I must have created by asking them all to seriously reconsider their initial approach to this challenge. I was therefore particularly curious to watch this episode.
I very much like the work that Bayete did. More than any other work, it responds exactly to what the challenge was all about. Seeing how simple it was for him to execute this piece should in no way detract from the strong visual impact of his video piece. Video clearly seems to be a medium that he is at ease with as he had already demonstrated at the time of the casting with the dialogue piece between the two Bayetes. It was also gratifying to see that after a close brush with elimination in the first episode he managed to actually secure victory in the second challenge.
Michelle also produced a strong work without having to resort to her favorite highly personal technique of paper sculpture. After her victorious first round she is again very close to the top.
Lola's work rightly did not impress the judges, which means that after having been part of the top group in Episode 1, she is part of the bottom one this time.
Tewz also produced a work that seemed to have very little to do with the theme of the challenge.
As in Season One's team challenge it was interesting to observe the group dynamics in the two opposing teams. Young very rapidly imposed himself as the leader in his team, whereas the other team did not seem to have a clear leader.
As a mentor the sole contact I have with the contestants is during my studio visits and during the gallery openings. It is only when actually watching the episodes that you can better discover their personalities. On that front it is Lola and the Sucklord who so far provide the best entertainment and are most fun to watch.
Kathryn tries to get out of her comfort zone by utilizing video to do her work, even if stylistically it is very close to the work she did for episode one. It is when seeing her reaction to criticism, that one realizes how brave all these artists are to submit themselves to being filmed around the clock and produce works within very tight time constraints and with little sleep. On top of that Kathryn had to deal with severe health issues. My full respect goes out to her. I actually very much liked the work she did for episode one. It was powerful when hanging on the wall of the gallery show. While her subject matter may be gruesome, there is a sort of formal appeal in it not unlike what you can experience when seeing some works by Thomas Hirschhorn.
It was a particular pleasure to see Jeanne Greenberg Rohatyn back as a judge in this episode. In real life she has proven her gift in spotting the great future talents well ahead of the game. It is easy to do so later once a consensus has begun to build.