Daria Blum Wins First Claridges Royal Academy School Prize

Daria Blum

Daria Blum is the winner of the first Claridge’s Royal Academy Schools Art Prize. The award was announced at a ceremony at Claridge’s this evening by Honorary Royal Academician Marina Abramović introduced by Russell Tovey.

Daria Blum was selected by judges Yinka Shonibare CBE, RA and Eva Rothschild RA during the recent RA Schools Show. The Prize is £30,000, (which includes a production fund) and a solo exhibition at Claridge’s ArtSpace gallery.

The Royal Academy and Claridge’s are both committed to supporting artists at a time when fees for higher education are skyrocketing and the costs of artists’ studio spaces in London are now out of reach.

Claridge’s recently extended its arts programme significantly with the opening of Claridge’s ArtSpace, a new gallery designed by John Pawson adjacent to the hotel presenting an ambitious programme of rotating exhibitions.

The RA Schools have been a key part of the Royal Academy since its foundation in 1769. The RA Schools offer a full-time, three-year programme to 17 early career artists each year. There are no fees.

Graduates of the RA Schools have contributed to art and culture in the UK and internationally through art practice, education, research, curatorial practice and collaboration. Stretching back to 1769, graduates include William Blake and JMW Turner to living artists: Lynnette Yiadom-Boakye, Michael Armitage RA, Eddie Peake, Prem Sahib, Rebecca Ackroyd, Kobby Adi and Ayo Akingbade who exemplify the range of recent graduates.

Marina Abramović Hon RA said: I am passionate about supporting the next generation of artists, and this new prize, The Claridge’s Royal Academy Schools Art Prize, is the perfect platform for this.  I find it incredible that there is an art school on Piccadilly in the heart of London, one that does not charge its students fees and hasn’t done for 255 years. Institutions like this are key to keeping art alive.

Eliza Bonham Carter, Curator and Director, Royal Academy Schools said: “Daria’s ambitious performance work using multi-media installation brings us face to face with everyday dramas as told by her unlikable, hypercritical and emotional performative character. Absurd, messy, serious and funny in turns, I greatly look forward to seeing Daria’s work develop with the support of the Claridge’s Prize.”

Paul Jackson, General Manager, Claridge’s said: ‘Here at Claridge’s we see art as an important and integral part of who we are, not just adorning the walls of our building but more importantly adding to the rich, creative, and diverse nature of the spirit of the hotel. We are very proud to be announcing the Claridge’s Royal Academy Art Prize winner at the same time the capital announces a wider initiative, London Creates celebrating the power of creativity. As a hotel in the heart of this thriving community we too have always felt a sense of responsibility to being culturally engaged so this feels the perfect time to have this moment ‘

Daria Blum (b.1992, Lucerne, Switzerland) is a London based artist who completed the Royal Academy Schools Postgraduate Programme this summer, after graduating with a BA in Fine Art from Central Saint Martins in 2017. She writes characters, music, and text, multiplying herself across video, vocal tracks, photography, and live performance.

Daria Blum has recently exhibited and performed in London at the Royal Academy of Arts (2023), V.O Curations (2022), Piccadilly Lights (2022), and the Averard Hotel (2021), as well as internationally at Roskilde Festival, Denmark (2023), MAXXI Museum, Rome (2019), Latvian National Museum of Art, Riga (2019), and Il Colorificio, Milan (2018). She was recipient of the Acme Associate Studio award in 2017, and artist in residence at Youkobo Art Space, Tokyo in 2019.

At the centre of London’s Mayfair, Claridge’s, part of Maybourne Hotel Group, embodies grand English style, timeless glamour and impeccable, intuitive and highly tailored service. It is London’s art deco jewel, and home to elegant rooms and suites. From London’s finest afternoon tea in The Foyer, to vintage champagnes at Claridge’s Bar and The Fumoir, and bespoke cocktails at The Painter’s Room, all are part of the hotel’s unique splendour and charm. www.claridges.co.uk

The Royal Academy Schools is an independent school of contemporary art that offers up to 17 students each year the opportunity to participate in a free, three-year, postgraduate programme. Founded in 1769, the RA Schools remains independent to this day. This independence enables the postgraduate programme to constantly adapt to the individual needs of each student. Discussion and debate are fuelled by a variety of lectures, artist talks, group critiques and tutorials given by leading contemporary artists, Royal Academicians, critics, writers and theorists.

Work on the vital restoration and renewal project for the RA Schools is currently underway and is due for completion in spring 2024. Designed by David Chipperfield Architects, together with conservation specialists Julian Harrap Architects, the project will preserve the heritage of the RA Schools and create state-of-the-art facilities in order to ensure the RA School’s position as one of the leading art schools in the UK. Whilst the renewal project is taking place, the students’ studios have temporarily moved to other spaces across the Royal Academy’s buildings.

The Royal Academy of Arts was founded by King George III in 1768. It has a unique position in being an independent, privately funded institution led by eminent artists and architects whose purpose is to be a clear, strong voice for art and artists. Its public programme promotes the creation, enjoyment and appreciation of the visual arts through exhibitions, education and debate. The Royal Academy is an independent charity. It does not receive revenue funding from the government so is reliant upon the support of its visitors, donors, sponsors, patrons and loyal Friends.

Photo: P C Robinson © Artlyst 2023

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