An introduction to the 246th Summer Exhibition by Cornelia Parker RA

Published 3 June 2014

Cornelia Parker RA explains what’s different about this year’s Summer Exhibition and the inspiration behind her ‘Black and White’ themed room.

  • This year is the first time that potential exhibitors to the Royal Academy Summer Exhibition can submit online. Although this might dissuade some regulars, it will hopefully encourage a whole new crop of artists. Perhaps those who were previously put off applying because of the ignominy of having to queue (often in the pouring rain) to hand in their works in person will throw their hat into the ring. With the potential for an ever expanding demographic, I think the future is looking bright for the Summer Exhibition!

  • Cornelia Parker RA

    Cornelia Parker RA

    Photo: Anne Purkis

  • I am thrilled to be curating a room for this year’s exhibition. It is a chance to invite artists I have long admired, especially those who have not exhibited at the RA before. The room’s theme is ‘Black and White’, and as the summer show is usually a riot of colour, I’m hoping to create a different mood in the space, a kind of visual firebreak. It is a continuation of an idea that I explored in the exhibition Richard of York Gave Battle in Vain at the Whitechapel Gallery in 2011. There I curated a selection of works from the Government Art Collection, which were hung according to their colour to form a spectrum.

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    We visited Cornelia Parker RA as she put the finishing touches to her black-and-white themed gallery in the Summer Exhibition, and asked how she went about putting it all together.

  • Some artists have made new works especially for the room with the theme in mind, others I have selected for their pertinence to the concept – politically, psychologically, formally or simply for their hue. David Batchelor, artist and writer of the wonderful books about colour, Chromophobia and The Luminous and the Grey has created a new pair of black and white ‘blob’ paintings. Alison Turnbull is filling a vitrine full of her beautiful black and white ‘exercise’ drawings. There will also be a few, spikier contributions, like new Royal Academician Bob and Roberta Smith’s hand-painted billboard Letter to Michael Gove, Gavin Turk’s crushed white van Transit Compression and Martin Creed’s white neon, ASSHOLES. As Vladimir Putin said ‘What is white is called black, what is black is called white’. Watch this space…

    Summer Exhibition 2014 is at the RA from 9 June - 17 August 2014.

    Summer Exhibition is sponsored by Insight Investment