Royal Academy Summer Exhibition 2016


It became apparent rather quickly that my high hopes for this year's Summer Exhibition weren't going to be met.  Having visited in previous years I've enjoyed the democracy of seeing known artists displayed alongside unknown names, the unlabelled works allowing an objective opinion to be  formed and in that respect this year's selection isn't any different.

However, I think the overwhelming impression was that the collection just wasn't particularly overwhelming despite there being so many exhibits and a few big names of the art world thrown in.

Of course amongst an exhibition of over 1200 works there were a few stand out pieces and I've selected some of those images to share in this post.

One of my favourites was a metal container by James Cauty displayed in the middle of the room.  It wasn't until the security guard suggested we look through some of the peep holes drilled into it that was saw the utter carnage of a miniature car crash scene on a bridge, complete with flashing blue police lights.  It was so cute because the model was made to scale yet depicted nothing but death and devastation.

You can see other similar works by Cauty as the ADP riot tour continues throughout the country until the end of the year, find out if it's coming to a place near you : ADP Riot Tour


Kutlug Atalan's The Portrait of Sakip Sabanci is pretty wow.  Made up of around 10,000 LCD panels and hung as a kind of wave overhead the screens project  images of people that are constantly changing.  The essence of the work is to display photos of all of the people that came into contact with Turkish businessman, Sakip Sabanci - friends, family, clients, colleagues etc - throughout his life and connect them through this artwork.

There were displays from Gilbert & George, Jake & Dinos Chapman and Wolfgang Tillmans to name but a few.  But it was perhaps the less celebrity names that left a greater impression.

John Humphrey's painted fibreglass head sculpture which is very subtly elongated, the effect of which completely distorts reality.  Whilst I was admiring it one lady approached and declared that looking at the head made her dizzy!

Ultimately a rather chaotic display of ok art I'm sad to say.  Although having read some pretty harsh reviews of the exhibition I don't think it's as bad as has been described.  If you're around Piccadilly and the British summertime is at its wettest then an hour or so at the Royal Academy isn't the worst way to spend your time!

The Summer Exhibition continues until 21st August.