Summer Exhibition 2015 at the Royal Academy of Arts
The great British summer is in full swing and the artistic highlight is without doubt the Royal Academy of Arts’ Summer Exhibition, which has displayed some of the finest collections of work from new and established artists since its first show in 1769.
Curated by Michael Craig-Martin CBE, whose former students include Damien Hirst, the main galleries have been painted in an array of vibrant colours to reflect the wealth of creativity from the more than 1,000 artworks on show. From the rich turquoise of the Wohl Central Hall to the bright magenta of the grand Gallery III, Craig-Martin has expertly chosen colours that richly enhance the form of the individual works.
The exhibition, choreographed around the movement of visitors through the galleries, opens with the giant installation The Dappled Light of the Sun by Conrad Shawcross in the main courtyard entrance. Setting the tone for an immersive experience, guests are invited to walk through and under the looming five steel clouds to reach the inner exhibition halls. The main staircase has been transformed in a mesmerising kaleidoscope of colours by Turner Prize-nominated artist Jim Lambie, playfully building the anticipation of what awaits inside.
Highlights include Liam Gillick’s Applied Projection Rig, which invites our gaze upwards to the backdrop of the stunning central roof dome. Nearby, Matthew Darbyshire’s figure Doryphoros, based on an Ancient Greek statue and made of modern materials, blends perfectly with the dynamic architecture of the space. Humument is an astounding achievement by Tom Philips RA, a piece in creation since 1966. Altering every page of the 1892 book A Human Document by WH Matlock, he has produced a completely new work in fascinating detail, offering his unique interpretation of the pages using paint, collage and cut-outs.
This year’s Architecture Gallery has been curated by renowned British architect Professor Ian Ritchie CBE RA. Titled Inventive Landscapes, the section presents an exploration of the dynamics between landscape and architecture. Accenting the interdependence between the two forms, it’s an intriguing futuristic interlude.
As the world’s largest open submission exhibit, it’s astonishing how the selection was narrowed from over 12,000 entries. The calibre of talent enforces the honour for each of this year’s artists occupying a privileged space on one of Academy’s walls. Showcasing works comprised of everything from painting and photography to sculpture and architecture, every room is bursting with variety. There’s something here to appeal to all artistic tastes and with many of the works for sale, it’s a unique opportunity to purchase pieces from both up-and-coming and established artists.
This is an exhibition not to be missed for the shear breadth and range of art on display – nowhere else will you find such an eclectic mix of talent under one roof, the focus on colour perfectly accentuating a delightful summer excursion.
Photos: Matthew Pull
Summer Exhibition 2015 is at the Royal Academy of Arts until 16th August 2015, for further information visit here.