I travelled to London at the weekend to see the Secret Artist Exhibition at The Royal College of Art, London.
This is an annual contemporary art exhibition held by the RCA. In a nutshell, postcard sized art works are donated to the exhibition by professional artists, designers, illustrators, students and graduates from the College and these 2800 artworks are sold to the public at a one day sale, with every piece of art work costing £45 regardless of whether it has been made by a famous artist or student. So what’s the secret?
The 2800 postcards are displayed anonymously and are signed on the reverse, so that the artist remains a secret until after the cards are purchased and their signature is revealed. So collectors wont know the identity of the artist until they have made their purchase.
Over 1,000 artists have donated work to RCA Secret this year, including Tracey Emin, Grayson Perry, Yoko Ono, Jake Chapman, Olafur Eliasson, Yinka Shonibare, Sir Peter Blake, John Baldessari, fashion designers Manolo Blahnik, Mary Quant and Sir Paul Smith, animator Nick Park, photographer David Bailey, film maker Mike Leigh and designers Ron Arad and James Dyson, as well as students and graduates from the Royal College of Art.
Some of my favourite pieces from my shortlist. One of my shortlisted was by Tracey Emin which wasn’t available by the time I had got to the front. Can you guess which one it is?
I travelled down to London on the Friday evening & met with friends who were also coming to the exhibition. We had planned to set out on the Saturday morning to get in the queue for 7am for the opening at 8am. We had ended up staying out on the Friday night until 6am so I set straight out to the exhibition in South Kensington without having gone to bed. I arrived at the end of the queue at 7.30am. The queue was HUGE. I hadn’t realised how huge it actually was but it took 5 hours of queuing on the streets until I got to the actual building. People had actually camped out so I was very ill prepared with a hangover, last nights make up on, heels & no breakfast/coffee not the best situation) but I was in the queue & couldn’t leave my place.
The atmosphere was strange. A real buzz in the air and lot’s of chatting in the queue. I met some really nice people.
Did I get one? Of course I did. There was no way I was leaving without one, so I had decided that even if none of my chosen cards were left that I’d pick one/any that I liked.
By the time I got to the front of the queue, so many pieces had gone and from my original short list of about 30, there were 3 pieces left. I managed to get one I had wanted. Number 2621. A piece I had chosen to go on our studio wall, hand stitched words in red wool on crisp white card. A really nifty piece that I am thrilled to own.
And who was it by…? On the back it was signed by Jo Taylor. An artist whose work revolves around language and the ideas it conveys. Jo uses language in its spoken and written forms such as gossip, orders and definitions. In focusing on these forms, she highlights and reveals their rhythms, subtleties and significance. In the process she questions their meaning and social context. The resulting work is a celebration of the ritual patterns and complexity of the language we use in everyday life.
I love it.
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