Since 1981, the Royal Scottish Academy (RSA) John Kinross Scholarship has afforded 10 students of art and/or architecture the chance to live and create in Florence for 3 months.
A few years later, an Academician’s bright spark saw works created during these Italian sojourns added (mandatorily) to a collection held by the RSA. Said hoard has swelled over the years until achieving national significance – who said you can’t have too much of a good thing?
ANDIAMO! (Let’s go, in Italian) is an exhibition celebrating the success of the award in promoting artistic achievement. Twenty past recipients, 5 from each decade, have been invited to exhibit current work alongside their historic legacies.
Curator Mary Bourne RSA, with assistant Angus Purdie (you guessed it, also RSA), have created a playful and honest journey through time and space. Diary snippets from Florentine days add an angsty, sometimes comedic, and wonderous context.
There are too many highlights to list, from William Darrel’s carefully documented and nigh-fatal Neptune’s Bubble, (yes, I said fatal); to Neil Gall’s confounding trompe l’oeil ‘Round the Bend’ (pictured). You’ll just have to believe me that an oil painting of sheets of paper with holes cut out is worth the trip alone.
Finally, I am happy to confirm that all the artists on show have improved over the years, or decades, since their trips.
Congratulations to the John Kinross Scholarship: it works!—William Quinn
ANDIAMO! runs at the Royal Scottish Academy, on The Mound, until 17 October. Opening hours: Wednesday–Saturday, 10am–5pm , Sunday 12–5pm. Alternatively, you can view the exhibition online HERE.
[Images: Neil Gall, Round the Bend, oil on canvas, photo by Andy Keate.]