July 14, 2016

The Eclectic Collection | RA Summer Show

FILED IN: Uncategorized

Jeez, it’s been a year already, a year since my last visual diary of the RA Summer Show and actually a year since starting this little ol’ blog of mine (cue imaginary birthday cake and candles). If you haven’t been to the show before, you absolutely must. Contemporary art obviously isn’t everyone’s cup of tea but this exhibition manages to select a little bit of everything and store it under one eclectic roof. 

As the largest open submission showcase, anyone can enter a piece into the exhibition for a chance to be selected by the chosen curator. Part of the fun is the fact you can find a relatively unknown artist next to a Roberta and Bob Smith with just as many red stickers dictating the popularity of the piece. I always choose to walk around without a guide on my first visit (yes, I’m a member) just because it’s nice to spot artists you know and judge the art without any form of insight. 

This year Richard Wilson RA is the bloke in charge and with over 1,200 works you need to spend a good chunk of time browsing the whole collection. If you didn’t know, Wilson is a pretty big sculptor but the exhibition showcases everything from photography to video to architecture and painting – it’s a burst of energy and vibrancy keeping the RA and the art world feeling fresh. Wilson even describes the show himself as “unpredictable, stimulating and startling.”

This year bold messages seemed to be at the forefront of the collection with lots of powerful words speaking to the audience. Perhaps it’s a sign of the times but motivations, words of kindness and political slogans were certainly a popular choice. That and bold colours and textures which can of course never be wrong in my eyes, just look at those vases below.

One little niggle – just bring back that Jim Lambie designed kaleidoscopic stairs – you’re totally losing Instagram points and I miss them!

Have you visited the RA Summer show yet? Let me know what you thought or if you’re planning on visiting soon. 

INFO: Showing until 21 August 2016; Sunday – Thursday, 10am-6pm, Friday & Saturday, 10am-10pm


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Emma Jane Palin is a freelance art consultant, interior stylist and multi-award-winning blogger residing in Margate, UK. She has worked with various home and lifestyle brands not limited to West Elm, Apple, John Lewis, Habitat, MADE, Caran D'Ache + No.3 Gin. Emma is also a regular contributor to Hunker where she writes about design trends and interior advice.

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