This year’s co-ordinator, the sculptor Richard Wilson, goes for the power of two by focusing on artistic pairs. We’re also back to white walls, ‘fully illuminated’ by natural light.
Winning Exhibitors Announced:
The Royal Academy of Arts Charles Wollaston Award
David Nash won £25,000 for the most distinguished work in the exhibition. His Big Black - a striking burnt tree, disrupts the space of the landscape room, room IV.
Other prizes went to Neil Jeffries RA, winning £10,000 for his metal sculptures and £4,000 prize for a woman artist went to Olwyn Bowey RA.
The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition has been running since 1796 and every year promises a true variety of artists, from the unknown to the world-renowned, displaying works in every medium, from print to paint.
Some 1,240 works are exhibited and 800 are ‘open send-ins’, which means anyone can submit. With such overwhelming numbers, let us take you on a room-by-room treasure hunt.
Use our guide on your mobile as you tour the galleries.
The Courtyard: Sir Joshua Reynolds has dressed up for the occasion and there’s a huge moving structure by Ron Arad that looks like a disconcerting probe.
The Staircase: You might miss Jane and Louise Wilson’s huge photographs either side of the staircase in your eagerness to reach the exhibition.
The Wohl Central Hall: Sets the theme with pieces by artistic duos. You can’t miss the Tracey Emin-goes-to-Vegas neon light installation Forever' by Tim Noble and Sue Webster.
Room III: Turn left out of the rotunda. This room features primarily Royal Academicians' works. Look up at Heather and Ivan Morrison’s airy kite structure, which looks intriguing from every angle. The late Albert Irvin has two pieces either side of the door, accompanied by elegiac bare charcoal trees. The biggest of Michael Craig-Martin’s contributions, ‘Space II’ is here, too.
Weston Rooms: Turn left again and into the darker Weston rooms. Go to the Small Weston Room to see Bernd and Hilla Becher’s portraits of water towers. Wander back and you can’t miss the specially-commissioned, massive Gilbert and George, ‘Beard Aware’.
But what will really draw your eye is the ‘magic carpet’ of ‘The Portrait of Sakip Sabanci’, comprised of 10,000 phone screen portraits glowing from the ceiling in the next room. If this year is all about collaboration, then this is a fascinating spin on the theme- a portrait of a late, loved industrialist in the faces of all those who worked for him.
Tracing your steps back, Room IV’s theme is landscape and the exhibition's Charles Wollaston Award winner is here: a massive shard of burnt tree by David Nash. There's some other burnt carbon, too: see if you can spot a landscape painted on a piece of toast.
Rooms V’s standout piece is the large Richard Long, comprised of swirling trails made by hand.
Wilson himself hung Room VI: two brilliant theatrical pieces from Gurt & Uwe Tobias are punctuated by a sizzling red and yellow canvas.
Room VIII contains unusual riffs on the idea of portraits and these pictures are very enjoyable. Look for the girl who’s eyes follow you around the room, the white gown riddled with insects, or the cigar-smoking Grandma above the door.
Room IX has the ‘mathematical growths’, geometric structures by the youngest RA member, Conrad Shawcross.
Most sculpture is found in The Lecture Room, helpfully arranged on shelves around the edges. Don’t forget to look through the peep holes in the huge steel container, or see Richard Wilson’s own small-scale contributions to the exhibition, an amazing stag made from coat hangers.
When the crowds come, their camaraderie should make these spaces come alive. What better for an exhibition which focuses on collaborative art?
We’ve teamed up with the RA to give one winner and their guest to an exclusive VIP morning at the Summer Exhibition, so that you can experience the exhibition without the crowds.
|What||RA Summer Exhibition 2016: Highlights|
|Where||Royal Academy, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London, W1J 0BD | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Green Park (underground)|
13 Jun 16 – 21 Aug 16, 10:00 AM – 6:00 PM
|Website||Click here for the Royal Academy Website|