The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, review: 'Not enough courage in its own mission'

17 June 2016 The Royal Academy Summer Exhibition, review: 'Not enough courage in its own mission'

 

The Royal Academy Summer show is a fixture - like Wimbledon and strawberries - in the social calendar. With over 12,000 submissions the selection committee chose 1250 works to fill the 10 rooms spanning the Piano Nobile. The coordinator for this the 248th Summer Exhibition, the much respected Richard Wilson Royal Academician who chose to focus on artists who work as a duo. 

Putting them together sadly just highlighted how they all worked in different ways with varying degrees of success. Bravo to the admirable Wilson twins alerting the viewer to past disaster. There is a garish light-bulb work by the always strident Tim Noble and Sue Webster. Further along a large Gilbert and George, albeit the first for the Royal Academy, and several Chapman Brothers works. 

Cramming too much work into even large galleries sadly makes everything look tacky, and this is particularly true of the room with an interesting video portrait work by Turkish artist Kutlug Ataman floating over a sea of small and undistinguishable paintings. Nearby the architecture room has become an afterthought with the idea of doing unrealised projects leading to a real morass of stuff, with little of anything to focus on.


Read more