The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition is one of the great English Art traditions, it is the world’s oldest open-submission exhibition being established in 1768 whose long line of exhibitors reads like a Who’s Who of British Art. Some of the earliest exhibitors included the likes of Reynolds, Constable and Turner, however the exhibition prides itself that it offers a snapshot of contemporary art.
This year there will be over 1,200 works on show which were selected from an original entry of 12,000. Unlike many major exhibitions, many of the works in the exhibition will be on sale.
In the courtyard, architect and sculptor Ron Arad has created Spyre which is a 16-metre high corten steel oval cone, hiding motors, cogs, and slew-rings. Each segment of Spyre moves at different speeds creating a series of acrobatic postures. At the tip of Spyre is an eye holding a camera, the footage from which will be relayed to a screen at the Royal Academy.
Part of the fun of wandering around the exhibition is trying to recognise pieces by the more well known artists and discovering new artists from the wide range of works on display. This year’s co-ordinator of the Royal Academy of Arts’ 248th Summer Exhibition is British sculptor and Royal Academician Richard Wilson, he has decided to showcase work by renowned artistic duos.
Highlights include a new, large-scale, suspended kite sculpture by Heather & Ivan Morison and two hand-coloured prints from the Human Rainbow II series (2014) by Jake & Dinos Chapman. Jane & Louise Wilson have created an atmospheric photographic installation, using some large-scale works from the artists’ series Chernobyl (2010 – 2012).
Other participating artistic duos include Ilya & Emilia Kabakov, EVA & ADELE, Boyd & Evans, Tim Noble & Sue Webster, Langlands & Bell and Pierre et Gilles, Gilbert and George, among many other others.
There are a number of works by well known artists amongst the exhibition including Allen Jones, Anselm Keifer, Cornelia Parker, Tracey Emin, Sir Quentin Blake, Phyllida Barlow, Eileen Cooper and Yinka Shonibare.
The Summer Exhibition which is the world’s largest open submission exhibition comprises of a wide range of media which offer a platform for emerging and established artists and architects to showcase their work in front of a large international audience. The Summer Exhibition also plays a practical role in training young artists, it raises funds to finance the current students of the RA Schools. The RA Schools is the longest established art school in the UK and offers the only free three-year postgraduate programme in Europe.
Walking around the exhibition is fascinating with a large number of wonderfully eclectic works on display, there is really something for everyone regardless of your particular artistic taste. The Summer Exhibition is one of the highlights of the art world’s summer and attracts a wide range of visitors. It also offers a rare opportunity to buy works from well known and not so well known artists with prices ranging from a few hundred to over a hundred thousand pounds.
Visiting London Guide Rating – Highly Recommended
If you would like further information or to book tickets, visit the Royal Academy website here
Royal Academy Summer Exhibition
13th June — 21st August 2016
Main Galleries, Burlington House
£13.50 (without donation £12). Concessions available. Friends of the RA and under 16s go free.
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