Summer Exhibition, Royal Academy of Art, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1, until 16th August 2015
From the moment you enter the courtyard and experience Conrad Shawcross’s The Dappled Light of the Sun, 2015 you realise that this year’s Summer Exhibition is going to be different in a good way. Upon entering the building this is confirmed by the main staircase which has become ZOBOP a highly colourful installation by Jim Lambie, which is made up from pieces of vinyl tape. When you enter the exhibition you are greeted by the vivid green walls of the Wohl Central Hall with to the right the bright blue of the Lecture Room and to the left Gallery III is a wonderful deep pink colour. The hang and display of the works is different too as there is a sense of balance and a less cluttered feel. This is helped by the fact that the Architecture Gallery is in the Large Weston Room and that two galleries are devoted to Prints.
All these positive changes are down to this year’s co-ordinator Michael Craig-Martin CBE RA and the hanging committee which includes Royal Academicians Norman Ackroyd, Olwyn Bowey, Gus Cummins, Jock McFadyen, David Remfry, Mick Rooney, Alison Wilding, Bill Woodrow and Ian Ritchie. They have set a high bar for their successors next year.
The whole raison d’être of the Summer Exhibition is aptly summed up by Bob and Roberta Smith RA: The Summer Exhibition is about artists’ generosity and democracy. No other gallery in the world tries to do what the RA does – open its doors to everyone who thinks of themselves as an artist, to have their work judged by their peers.