Summer Exhibition Edit: Amber Jane Butchart

Published 12 August 2014

We’ve challenged three guest speakers to choose the five works in this year’s Summer Exhibition that intrigue them the most. Fashion historian and DJ Amber Jane Butchart guides us through her favourite works.

  • Yinka Shonibare RA (Wohl Central Hall, Work 12)

    “What interests me about [Shonibare’s] work is the use of the textiles, which I think are absolutely beautiful. I love the colours, I love the prints, the shapes. Yinka Shonibare uses these with a very political aim. These textiles are from West Africa, people think of them very clearly as African fabrics. However, this process actually originated in Indonesia. You have stories of global trade and of imperialism running through these fabrics.”

  • Wohl Central Hall, Summer Exhibition 2014

    Showing works by (L-R) Bob and Roberta Smith RA, Yinka Shonibare RA, Rosemarie Trockel Hon RA and Conrad Shawcross RA.

    Photo: Benedict Johnson

  • Eve Gonzales (Large Weston Room, Works 444 and 445)

    “These works seem to be telling stories in a very distinct way. In A Coat for my Daughter, if you look at the words embroidered onto here, it’s albums and bands and songs. It’s almost as if she’s providing her daughter with a list of music that she’ll like, that she should listen to. It’s a really nice, personal story.

    "The other thing I love about these pieces is that traditionally textiles is a woman’s realm. For me, these pieces really tap into that history of women using crafts and using their domain as a way of telling stories to society.”

  • Installation view of Eve Gonzalez's 'A Coat for my Daughter' (left) and 'Cape' (right)

    © Royal Academy of Arts

  • Richard Woods (Gallery IX, Work 1209)

    “I was immediately drawn to this when I first came into this room because the design technique, trompe l‘oeil, which means ‘to fool the eye’ in French, is one of my all time favourites. Anything that is created to look like something else, I find there’s something incredibly joyful about it. I would be more than happy to live in a house that had this sort of design all over it.”

  • Installation view of the Lecture Room in Summer Exhibition 2014, curated by Cornelia Parker RA

    Photo: Benedict Johnson

  • Tim Shaw RA (Lecture Room, Work 1187)

    “This has a much, much darker sensibility than the other pieces. Again, it was the textile, the fabric quality of these that interested me. It’s beautiful, almost damask, furnishing fabric, and yet the way that it’s been stitched together has a very Frankenstein quality to it.

    It shows the different ways that textiles are being used – this is a world away from Cape or A Coat for my Daughter, that homespun aesthetic. There’s something almost violent in this in the way that this has been butchered and stitched back together, and that’s what drew me to it.”

  • Installation view of Tim Shaw RA's 'The Bisto Kids Gone Wrong', with 'Four Hares Heads' behind

    © Royal Academy of Arts, London

  • David Saunders, 'William Cuffay and the London Chartists 1842'

    “What particularly interested me about this was the idea of recreating history through art, and specifically through photography, which is spoken about as a medium that doesn’t lie. This made me think about history from the other perspective – of using art to tell stories about history. This is part of a series of photographs recreating historical events of mass dissent throughout British history.”

  • David Saunders, William Cuffay and the London Chartists 1842.

    Inkjet print.

  • Listen to the full recording

  • Summer Exhibition 2014 is at the RA until 17 August 2014.

    Summer Exhibition is sponsored by Insight Investment


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