Jim Lambie staircase

The 2015 Summer Exhibition at the RA in London

The summer exhibition is a festival of art from emerging and established artists.  It is visually exciting and a chaotic feast for the eyes with every inch of gallery space covered with new works.  No two years are ever alike or even similar and this year’s Summer exhibition is a blast of colour and light.

For those not familiar with this long established London event (it has been going since 1769) – it is the world’s largest open submission exhibition and provides a unique platform for artists and architects to showcase their works to an international audience.

This year the exhibition spills out of the gallery to meet visitors.  As one passes through the arch into the Annenberg Courtyard one is met by Conrad Shawcross’s immersive sculptural installation “The

Conrad Shawcross The dappled light of the sun
Conrad Shawcross The dappled light of the sun at the Summer Exhibition in London

Dappled Light of the Sun”, which has transformed the traditional Georgian courtyard into a modernistic woodland of steel.  Continue on through the rotating doors and one is greeted not by the usual sombre stone staircase that takes one to the main exhibition above but a stream of many colours that is Jim Lambie’s colour staircase.

This year even the walls have been given a new look; turquoise, pink and blue backdrops are used to showcase the works in the three central galleries and as usual there are a few tweaks to the exhibition lay out.  This year there is a whole room dedicated to sculptures, which it is tremendous; the Small Weston Room has been given over to the South African artist William Kentridge and his works of African Indigenous trees; and next door, in the Large Western Room, is the Architecture Gallery whose theme is ‘Inventive Landscape’.  The latter seems to work much better here and whether it is down to the theme, the new space or this year’s entries I cannot say, but it is greatly improved.  The smaller works still have their own dedicated room but since there are many, many more this year they have been hung in Gallery I and whilst this lacks the intense visual impact of before, it is still thoroughly delightful.

This year’s Summer exhibition is one of the most enjoyable I have been to for a while and gives plenty of reasons to return for another look.

The Summer Exhibition is currently on at The Royal Academy of Art in London until 16th August 2015.  For more information visit:  https://www.royalacademy.org.uk/

To take a deeper look at the exhibition click here:  https://se.royalacademy.org.uk/galleries

William Kentridge
William Kentridge
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