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Stewarts Law RCA Secret 2016 Returns to RCA Kensington

From 8 to 15 April 2016, RCA Secret will be on display at the Royal College of Art’s Kensington Campus. The exhibition will feature over 2,000 original artworks for sale: postcard-sized drawings, collages, photographs and sculptures by internationally acclaimed artists, as well as by promising up-and-coming graduates from the RCA. Each work is sold for £55, and all profits from sale go towards the RCA Student Award Fund, which helps emerging artists by funding scholarships to the College.

RCA Secret is a unique opportunity to purchase affordable one-of-a-kind works commissioned exclusively for the exhibition, while simultaneously supporting students at a critically formative time in their careers. Contributions are donated by invited students, as well as leading international artists and designers; works are produced with the careful consideration and marked expertise evident in each practitioner’s wider practice. 

Inaugurated in 1994, the event is London’s original postcard exhibition and sale. Central to its appeal is an interest in anonymity and the thrill of surprise, the intrigue of the ‘secret’: each work is signed only on its reverse side, which is not revealed to the collector until he or she has completed the purchase. At the close of the exhibition, all artists are revealed online. RCA Secret attracts high-profile art collectors and passionate art lovers who revel in the opportunity to discover surprising talents both new and old, based on instinct and inclination: the chance to see, with fresh eyes, work that one might not otherwise encounter.

Amongst many others, previous years of participating artists include: David Bailey, John Baldessari, Jarvis Cocker, Angela de la Cruz, Jeremy Deller, Zaha Hadid, Susan Hiller, Mike Leigh, Richard Long, Annette Messager, Grayson Perry, Laure Prouvost, Paula Rego, Jim Shaw, Yinka Shonibare, Bob and Roberta Smith, Lawrence Weiner and Rose Wylie. This year is sure to feature similarly exciting talents, alongside those burgeoning within the student body of the College.

Building on the success and increasing popularity of RCA Secret over the past two decades, this year features a new curatorial vision: new postcards will be added throughout the exhibition itself. The works will be arranged and numbered chronologically, and will remain on display for the duration of the show. Following this model, more opportunities will be available to both view and purchase works. 

Buyers will be able to purchase their chosen postcards from the exhibition – a maximum of four works each – from Sunday 10 to Friday 15 April. Works may be collected in person on the collection day, Saturday 16 April, or postage can be arranged at point of sale. All of the works on display will be available to view online, where you must also register for a buyer’s ID in advance of visiting the exhibition.

For a second year, RCA Secret will exhibit in conjunction with Art Dubai from 16 to 19 March 2016. As in London, bespoke, postcard-sized artworks from the world’s leading creatives, as well as RCA alumni, students, local artists and designers, will be available to buy for 500 AED each.

Dr Paul Thompson, RCA Rector, says: ‘The annual RCA Secret exhibition provides a rare art-world moment, when a small part of the global contemporary art market is made accessible to everyone. It is thanks to the artists and designers who donate their work to this much-needed cause that we are able to stage this wonderful exhibition. In doing so, they and the buyers provide opportunities to the emerging artists and designers of the future, who – as students – are often stretched to their limits financially.’ 


Stewarts Law RCA Secret takes place at the Royal College of Art, Kensington Gore, London SW7 2EU. Admission is free.

Friday 8 – Saturday 9 April: Public exhibition open (no sales), 11am – 6pm

Sunday 10 April: Sale open, 8am – 6pm

Monday 11 – Friday 15 April: Sale open 11 am – 6pm (late openings on Wednesday and Friday, when more cards are added; close at 8pm)

Exhibition closes at 8pm on Friday 15 April.

Saturday 16 April: Collection day for all buyers to pick up their postcards, 9am – 5pm. 

For more details and FAQ, visit the official Stewarts Law RCA Secret website. For RCA Secret Dubai, visit here

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