Graham Ellard & Stephen Johnstone
26 September - 6 November 2019
Weston Studio, RA Schools
Sunday – Thursday 10am-6pm
Free, no booking required.
Friends of the RA go free
Shot over three years in the Royal Academy Schools studios, Graham Ellard and Stephen Johnstone’s 16mm film installation 'FOSSIL' explores the RA’s extraordinary collection of architectural casts.
FOSSIL focuses on the Royal Academy's collection of historic architectural casts, copies of antique columns, capitals and friezes. They were once used as teaching aides at the RA Schools. But, since the Architecture School closed in the 1950s, these casts were hidden behind temporary walls.
This film records the precarious revealing of the casts and their ungainly demounting. Their removal was undertaken by hand, using webbing, ropes, pulleys and physical force in much the same way that they were installed in the mid-nineteenth century.
Periods of intense colour punctuate the immersive, large-scale film projection. In these sequences, the casts evoke Jean Painlevé’s eerie underwater films of crustaceans, molluscs and seahorses, or the encrusted shipwrecks in Jacques Cousteau’s early film, Silent World. The casts are re-imagined as ancient life forms, now fossilized, that have been secreted from the walls of the RA Schools Studios.
The installation also includes a number of casts from the RA Collection that have been selected by the artists.
Please note, the 16mm film closes at 5.30 pm on Fridays. The 16mm projector was not designed to run for extended time periods. Closing the film early reduces the risk of the projector overheating or malfunctioning.
Supported by Batia and Idan Ofer.
The Weston Studio
This public exhibition space is dedicated to innovative and experimental projects, exhibitions, installations, and interventions; alongside occasional events, readings, and performances presented by Royal Academy Schools students and graduates. Until recently, this space was a working studio occupied by generations of Royal Academy Schools students. Similar studios are still located on either side of the space.
Royal Academy Schools
The Royal Academy Schools offers a 3-year full-time postgraduate programme in contemporary fine art for up to 17 artists each year. The course is aimed at artists who want to develop their practice through exposure to new ideas and constructive critique, dialogue with a diversity of voices and access to specialist workshops.
The Royal Academy was founded "to promote the appreciation and understanding of art", and also its practice. At its heart was the creation of the RA Schools, a school of art established to set the standard for the training and professionalism of the next generation of artists, to nurture and develop the artists of tomorrow. The ambition of the founding Academicians was to facilitate the transfer of knowledge from one generation of artists to the next and that this should be, 'free to all students who shall be qualified to receive advantage from such studies’ (Royal Academy of Arts Instrument of Foundation 1768) and this remains the case to this day.