LONDON, United Kingdom — The summer brought to London the highly awaited sunshine and, with it, the anticipated event highlighted in every artist’s calendar: The Royal Academy of Arts Summer Exhibition 2013 running until 18 August. Since its establishment in 1769, the Royal Academy holds an annual show where anyone can buy the works of both, internationally acclaimed and emerging artists. This year, the 245th edition of the world’s largest open-submission exhibition has not failed to live up to its reputation among artists and collectors. With its unrivalled merit-based approach to the selection of works, the exhibition also offers an ideal platform for newcomers into the artistic world.
Burlington House, the majestic building hosting the Royal Academy, greets international visitors to the exhibition at the courtyard with El Anatsui’s celebrated 15m x 23m wall-hanging sculpture ‘TSIATSIA – Searching for Connection’, which obtained this year’s Wollaston Award to the most distinguished work in the exhibition. Inside the 14 rooms of the building, more than 1,000 works – carefully selected by prominent artists and architects among the over 10,000 submissions – create a mosaic of different shapes and vibrant colours displayed by painting, sculpture, photography and architecture pieces, among other types of work.
One of the purposes of this exhibition is to raise funds for the Royal Academy Schools, where young talents enrol in a prestigious three-year postgraduate programme in fine art. Marie von Heyl, third-year student at the RA Schools who began her international career in Berlin, explains that she joined the outstanding lecture programme to expand her practice, not only formally but also intellectually.
“The RA Schools maintain a dynamic mix of tutors, complemented by artist talks and lectures. Although I learned a lot, I never felt as a pupil, but as an artist participating in dialogue with other professionals”, says Marie, who, like her peers, this year had the opportunity to curate her own works’ space at the yearly RA Schools Show.
“My colleagues and I were all aware of the fact that this is an opportunity to be rigorous with the install…although many of us have been exhibiting internationally already, the final show is a shift onto the next level”, explains Marie. In fact, after her graduation, Marie will take up a three-month artist residency at the Glenfiddich Distillery in Scotland before returning to London to focus on Affairs, a broadcasting programme project in collaboration with artist Katrin Albrecht that won the Deutsche Bank Award in Fine Art 2013.
With two works currently on display at the Summer Exhibition 2013, Jolanta Rejs, 2012 RA Schools graduate from Poland, is developing the successful career in art that she dreamed of since she was 15 years old. With hard work and commitment, Jolanta’s experience at the RA Schools gave her the perfect combination between freedom and guidance. The RA Schools Show taught her to take advice, but also resist criticism and follow her own ideas, “After this experience you feel that you have emerged a few inches more and perhaps you are more visible to others”, explains the talented artist.
In Jolanta’s words, the participation in this exhibition “poses the challenge of resistance but is also an opportunity to sell works and that is definitely invaluable and helps fund further projects”. After the busy and rewarding summer, Jolanta will be purely concentrating on her art practice – and we cannot wait to see her new works.
With its more than 1,000 works, the Summer Exhibition 2013 has something to offer to everyone – and thanks to the talent of artists like Marie and Jolanta, we can surely look forward to what next summer’s edition might bring.