Show RCA is one of the most exciting graduation shows in the calendar. Probably only it and Central St. Martins are the great celebrity draws among the wealth of riches at British art schools. Last year over 40,000 visitors tramped through South Kensington and Battersea to see the show. This year, the Royal College of Art's 175th birthday, it boasts its largest ever number of graduating students - nearly 500 of the world's finest art graduates from over 40 countries display their hard-earned wares.
Show RCA 2012 is actually two shows. In the historic South Kensington campus are students from Architecture, Ceramics & Glass, Fashion Footwear & Accessories, Goldsmithing, Silversmithing, Metalwork & Jewellery, Innovation Design Engineering, Textiles, Vehicle Design, Animation and Visual Communication. Plus, fresh from the launch and publication of their new book, the first ever students of Critical Writing in Art & Design show their graduation work, everything from books, to apps - even a stunning documentary on notions of temporality in fashion trends.
The Fine Art students of the Battersea campus include Painting, Photography, Printmaking and Sculpture. Again, this year the college will make use of the massive underground gallery space, Testbed, where there will be work shown by Design Products and Design Interactions.
It's dizzying, and the quality of work from the graduating students is very strong. With alumni include Tracey Emin, The Chapman Brothers, David Hockney, Ridley Scott and Julien Macdonald. There's a history to live up to. They've worked very hard over the past two years and this is a show that they - indeed, anyone - can be proud of.
Show RCA 2012 opens tomorrow, until 01 July.