Premiums at the Royal Academy, London SW1

This is the interim show by students at the Royal Academy Schools. There is lots to mull over here about how student shows function; what kind of work shines in a varied group show; and what has ‘kerb appeal’.

There were video works in all three spaces and because they all had sound fed through mikes, not just through headphones, they dominated. There is an immediate attraction to the image and sound; people gathered round. At last year’s Jerwood Drawing Show, I felt that works installed next to very different pieces had their qualities showcased more than those which were on a wall with apparently similar works. But clearly there are limits to this idea that having diverse neighbours is good for the work; quiet paintings suffered here.

Often my heart sinks at the idea of  ‘humorous video’ work but today I found I enjoyed work with a sense of humour more than the pieces that seemed to take themselves very seriously. Perhaps because in both case I have in mind, the humour was used to investigate themes that were themselves serious.

160219 Premiums at RA Jessy Jetpacks for webA video by Jessy Jetpacks, High Functioning Autistic Spectrum, looks at ideas that you can find in any newspaper or women’s magazine about how women can or should run their lives better. In this scene, she is confiding in a cardboard therapist who offers her only banal comments. He asks what advice she would give to other women about living better. She sits and thinks for a long time, saying nothing, and then concludes brightly ‘well, I hope that’s been helpful’.

The stills below are from another video, by Richie Moment,  Jezmonite, sending up music videos and their self-absorption. Although this and the other video illustrated below were both presented on a messy, colourful, glittery table apparently designed by a 5-year old, the production values were very professional which just underlined the purpose of the film.

160219 Premiums at RA RIchie Moment 01 for web 160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 02 for web 160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 04 for web

These are from his other piece, The Phonecall – Internet Presence 003, in which he is shown relaxing after graduating and then being motivated and even enraged by news that someone else has been asked to show in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. Both his videos were only just over a minute long; there’s something here about leaving them wanting more.

160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 05 for web 160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 06 for web 160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 10 for web

160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 11 for web 160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 12 for web 160219 Premiums at RA Richie Moment 13 for web