Premiums Interim Projects 2014 at the Royal Academy
The main difference between this exhibition and any other postgraduate art show is that, at the Royal Academy, students enjoy financial support through fee waivers and other bursaries. Halfway through their three-year course, 17 students get to showcase their work in the fabulous galleries of the RA. Support leads to high production values and the kind of professional finish more usually seen upon graduation.
Work ranges from painting through to video and installation, and is about as progressive as anywhere else, although not noticeably experimental in form. Ziggy Grudzinskas paints large and eye-catching silvery and black canvasses, but somewhat shoots himself in the foot by describing them in his artist statement as an act “free from mind”.
Sophie Alsbo shows a four screen set of videos which mix versions of reality and fiction, within the same view – very interesting work which raises questions about which might be the authentic version.
Henry Coleman’s ambitious sculpture stands like an intervention at a doorway, a wall structure with minimalist windows and scaffolding. It’s hard to figure out why, but it strangely lacks impact in the gallery, not having a sense of imposition or threat.
Josie Cockram’s sound and video dual screen installation is interestingly abstract, with overlapping organic images, yet it remains unclear if the light leakages from the projectors over the screens are accidentally or deliberately distracting. Overall it’s a diverse show full of artists serious about pursuing their practice and making their mark.
Linked to this exhibition is a fundraising auction giving a chance to buy work from RA alumni and artists, including Ai Wewei, Tracey Emin and Grayson Perry. Funds continue the work of the RA which was the first fine art school in Britain, founded in 1768. Past students include Turner and Constable, and it is tempting to speculate whether any of these exhibitors could make such famed contributions to the art world in the future.
Premiums Interim Projects 2014 is at the Royal Academy from 7th – 19th March 2014. For further information or to book visit the gallery’s website here.