The observational documentary follows seven very different artists in their attempts to have work accepted for Ireland’s most important open call show, also giving viewers a rare behind-the-scenes glimpse of the judging process and of the RHA itself, as it prepares for the most ambitious event on its calendar.
‘We chose our six talented artists very carefully,’ explains director Hilary Fennell, ‘some of them have never shown in such a prestigious show before, so it will be interesting to see which, if any, of them get in,’ she continues, with her fingers firmly crossed, ‘We’re featuring a sculptor, a printmaker and four painters. They all have very interesting personal stories, are at very different stages of their careers and come from all over the country. We began filming in January and have watched their art-works evolve, revealing why they make art, what inspires them and how their processes differ. The Annual provides a fantastic opportunity for them to evolve as artists and in some cases to launch a vibrant and successful career. Each year around 1,500 artists submit over 2,500 works to the open call section of the Annual, of which approximately 300 pieces succeed in being exhibited.
The film crew will continue to follow the six artists through the whole process - from hand-in day, to the selection process, to the behind-the-scenes controlled mayhem of the install as the gallery team works around the clock to create this art marathon of a show. The filming will culminate on Varnishing Day, when viewers will find out if the work of the six artists makes it onto the hallowed RHA walls for the 189th Annual Exhibition.
Image: Filming with independent documentary makers, Hilary Fennell and Mark McLoughlin.