The London Royal Academy of Arts is undergoing a transformative redevelopment by David Chipperfield Architects that will unite Burlington House on Piccadilly with 6 Burlington Gardens to the north.
The Royal Academy will be opened as never before, creating a revitalised destination for artists and the public in the very heart of London, completed in time for the 250th anniversary in 2018. Across the site there will be new public areas, displays of their collections and more space for the RA Schools. Burlington Gardens will reopen with new, dedicated spaces for exhibitions, new learning facilities and a double-height lecture theatre.
Royal Academician Yinka Shonibare, MBE, has created an art work for the scaffolding wrap which will shroud the façade of Burlington Gardens for the next two years while the building work is underway. It will contribute an important temporary work of art to the neighbourhood of Mayfair that celebrates, not just the Royal Academy, but the importance of art and culture for everyone. The art work consists of a digital print on PVC mesh.
‘RA Family Album’ brings together over 150 photographs that span the Royal Academy’s 248-year history. The juxtaposition of images reveals the rich tapestry of activity which takes place behind these walls. From the renowned exhibitions, public debates, artists’ gatherings and stylish social events, to the more private making of art by school students and the skilled back-of-house operations, all give the place its life and vitality.
This spread of images is topped by one of Shonibare’s signature colourful fabric designs, in this case of circles, selected as a sign of universal inclusiveness. From historic legacy to future possibilities, the work highlights the Royal Academy as a place for all.
The 71m wide artwork was designed at Pentagram, under the direction of Harry Pearce.