As the contour of the art dipped in a wave like formation around the grey-painted rooms, the myriad of paintings scaling the walls seemed almost overwhelming as they forced the eye to lose sight and appreciation of specific pieces. Impact was found in the form of the truly shocking: Glendinning’s sculpture of a child cradling himself in the foetal position, his jesmonite body covered in entirety with white feathers while his eyes, ears and chest stand highlighted by what remains of a brown bird.
The Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy of Arts provides fourteen art filled rooms, but the composition and arrangement of pieces – paintings, sculptures, architectural models and prints – fails to provide a distinct atmosphere or evoke the profundity of awe one hopes to experience whilst in such an environment. With all the pieces on sale, the exhibition is best suited for those looking to buy with something in mind.
While some of the rooms were less cluttered, giving the viewer an opportunity to absorb the pieces on display, the stark contrast meant the frame of mind one approached each work of art with was one of disarray. A Cindy Sherman piece could have gone unnoticed.
Amidst this collection of works ranging in style from Sutton’s attempt to mirror Rembrandt’s priceless gaze to a sculpture of a purple, Barney-like dinosaur carrying an animated blonde, there are some pieces that cause a wandering eye to take a closer look at the detail of their creation.
It was the music room that acted as the exhibitions only redeeming feature. The dark room drew the viewer to its projected screen and the crescendo of a drone-like cello penetrated the ears of those seated on a black bench, transfixed by flashing images. Whether that was enough to make the outing worthwhile is debatable.