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Last chance to see - The Royal Academy of Arts' Summer Exhibition
Until 15 August 2011
Royal Academy of Arts, Burlington House, Piccadilly, London W1J 0BD

10am - 6pm daily (last admission 5.30pm)
Late night opening: Fridays until 10pm (last admission 9.30pm)






The Royal Academy's annual Summer Exhibition is the largest open-submission contemporary art show in the world. Now in its 243rd year, this exhibition continues the tradition of showcasing work by both emerging and established artists in all media including painting, sculpture, photography, printmaking, architecture and film.


The Summer Exhibition attracts a high volume of entrants with over 12,000 entries received this year from 27 countries. Among the successful entries were seven Japanese artists, former Daiwa Scholar Edmund de Vaal (author of The Hare with Amber Eyes), and former MEXT Scholar Alex Blum. We caught up with Alex and architect Kazuya Yamazaki to find out more about their work.


Alexandra Blum - Former MEXT Scholar


Alexandra Blum took part in the Government of Japan's MEXT Postgraduate Scholarship programme between 1996 and 1998 and studied Fine Art (oil painting) at Kyoto City University of the Arts. She says the MEXT Scholarship had a massive impact on her career: "I am very interested in movement through time and space in urban environments, and the MEXT Scholarship allowed me to study the use of pictorial space, unrestricted by the traditions of western linear perspective, in Momoyama Period images. This research continues to have a strong influence on my conception of depicted space and time. I was also fascinated by traditional and contemporary architecture in Kyoto - in particular the relationship between interior and exterior, the use of temporary structures to transform the use of a space and the shift between materials to indicate the visually subtle, yet powerfully felt, boundaries between spaces."


'9.9.08 - Kingsland High Street', graphite on paper, 21 x 30 cm


Alexandra's piece, entitled 9.9.08 - Kingsland High Street, is her first piece to be featured in the Summer Exhibition. "It is part of a series of 200 drawings which chart the transformation of Dalston, in East London. The area is undergoing massive regeneration and I have spent three years drawing the upheaval". As a local resident, she wanted to explore the transformation taking place right on her doorstep - "not just the beginning and end points, but the process of change itself: the rawness, sensitivity to spatial experience and vitality of the transitory spaces which existed during the construction period".

Alexandra will be showing new drawings from this body of work at the Geffrye Museum, Kingsland Road, London, E2  from 27th September 2011. A catalogue of the original exhibition of these drawings, which took place on the building site in a space in its raw shell and core state, is available - contact post@alexblum.co.uk for details. Further information about Alexandra's forthcoming shows, as well as further images, can be found on her website - www.alexblum.co.uk



Yama / Kazuya Yamazaki - Architect


Architect Kazuya Yamazaki was born in Tokyo in 1974. After working for a year in Tokyo after graduating from the Shibaura Institute of Technology, he moved to the UK in 2001. His piece 'Tokyo Retail Series 2010' is his first exhibit in the historic Summer Exhibition and shows a series of interior designs for fashion retailers. Of the piece, Yama says, "The display shelves, with simple geometric elements, define the interior architectural space as well as people's actions."

'Tokyo Retail Series 2010'

Yama says that the most exciting thing about life in London is the multi-cultural background. "In the noughties the British economy was doing well and many people around the world came to London. Therefore, we worked and lived among people of many cultures." But that is not without its challenges, as he explains: "I am always thinking hard about how to communicate with others here. I believe that it is very important to make eye contact, say "Good morning", "Thank you" to others. I take extra care when checking drawings and preparing for meetings to ensure smooth communication in the design process."

Another example of Yama's work is seen by thousands of commuters and visitors to London each day - he was one of the team involved in the redesign of the Northern Ticket Hall at London King's Cross Underground Station!

For more information, visit Yama's website at www.yamazakikazuya.com or follow him on twitter - www.twitter.com/yamazakikazuya

Alexandra's and Yama's work, as well as pieces by several other Japanese artists, will be on display at the Royal Academy of Arts until 15 August.


Admission prices include the List of Works giving details on every exhibit in the show.
£10 full price; £8 60 years+ and registered disabled; £7 NUS; £3 12-18 years and Income Support; £3 8-11 years; free for 7 years and under. RA Friends go free.