LONDON, UK — Art institution The Royal Academy is delighted to present the 254th Summer Exhibition, a unique celebration of contemporary art and architecture, that aims to provide a vital platform and support for the artistic community. Celebrated British sculptor Alison Wilding RA has coordinated this year’s Summer Exhibition, and working with the rest of the Summer Exhibition Committee, explores the theme of Climate.
The exhibition was launched on June 21 and will stay on display until August 21 at the main gallery of Burlington House, Royal Academy of Arts in London.
Artists exhibiting new work this year include artistic duos Harvey & Ackroyd, The Singh Twins, and Special Olympics GB Athlete and artist Niall Guite. Other artists invited to exhibit this year include Royal Academy Schools graduate Clara Hastrup, Dominica-born British painter Tam Joseph, sculptor Kathleen Ryan, conceptual artist Simon Starling, sculptor Gavin Turk, Brazil-based artists Denilson Baniwa and Sallisa Rosa, art-activist Jerilea Zempel and painter and photographer Diane Burko. Wall-based works made by Roger Ackling (1947-2014) using sunlight have also been invited. In addition to the large number of public submissions, newly elected Royal Academicians Michael Armitage, Peter Barber and Ryan Gander have submitted works, as well as newly elected Honorary Academician Pipilotti Rist.
This year, Royal Academicians Rana Begum and Níall McLaughlin have worked collaboratively and curated architecture across two galleries, alongside artworks. They have worked closely with invited architects including Boonserm Premthada, who has innovated the use of elephant dung to make bricks and is displaying a custom-designed and fabricated structure using elephant dung bricks made in the UK. Begum and McLaughlin have also worked with Marina Tabassum whose Khudi Bari (Tiny House) has been constructed in the galleries using local and reclaimed materials. The Khudi Bari is designed as a low-cost temporary housing option for refugees and victims of climate change.
Alongside the Summer Exhibition this year is a large-scale, immersive installation designed specifically for the Royal Academy’s Annenberg Courtyard by the renowned Spanish artist and 2020 Royal Academy Architecture Prize winner, Cristina Iglesias.
Cristina has explored themes of nature, climate, and the environment throughout her career, and the installation for the RA, Humid Labyrinth Room (with Spontaneous Landscape), has been conceived to bring the experience of intimacy and landscape to a public urban space. Her work confronts the viewer with the juxtaposition of fictional and real images of nature, revealed and hidden in the viewpoints and reflections of the labyrinth that composes the center of the piece. The room Cristina has placed in the courtyard, acts as refuge, a recurring theme in her work, creating a space for wonder and reflection. A space of shadow and breeze, alongside vegetation and water, in the middle of the city.
The Summer Exhibition is the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show which has taken place every year without interruption since 1769. Works from all over the world are judged democratically on merit and the final selection is made during the eight-day hang within the galleries. This year the Royal Academy received 15,000 entries, of which over 1400 works, in a range of media, are on display. This open, inclusive and democratic show supports the artistic community, art education and provides a display of creativity and joy for the public.
The majority of works are for sale, offering visitors an opportunity to purchase original work. Funds raised support the exhibiting artists, the postgraduate students studying in the RA Schools and the work of the Royal Academy.
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