07 OCTOBER 2020

WeTransfer Partners with the Royal Academy of Arts to Showcase its Historic 252nd Summer Exhibition

As the digital partner, WeTransfer will bring its contemporary artwork to millions of people worldwide despite lockdown, championing the redemptive power of the arts in uncertain times

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WeTransfer today announced it has been chosen by the Royal Academy of Arts, esteemed London art institution, as the exclusive digital partner for its annual Summer Exhibition 2020, its biggest exhibition of the year. The unique collaboration was conceived by Uncommon Creative Studio, who had the idea to bring together WeTransfer’s platform and the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition for millions to view the artworks in this new digitised format online, marking the first digital partnership of its kind for both parties.

The WeTransfer wallpaper displays all 1,172 artworks through an innovative “Lucky Dip” format, which implements a dynamic grid to reflect the actual walls of the Royal Academy and the diversity of the Summer Exhibition. With every click, new artwork is revealed and the wallpaper automatically adjusts its dimensions to match the piece, bringing the vibrancy of the exhibition to life. WePresent, the editorial arm of WeTransfer, also spotlights commentary from curators so viewers can learn more about the artists, themes, and ideas behind each piece of work — creating an experience that’s analogous to a guided tour.


With the COVID-19 pandemic requiring a reduced capacity for live viewings of the exhibition, WeTransfer provides access to new artworks featured in it, including pieces by Marina Abramovic, Anselm Kiefer, Cornelia Parker, Ai WeiWei and Grayson Perry, to its global audience of up to 70 million people each month — extending the reach of the Royal Academy’s Summer Exhibition to the largest audience to date.


“We believe in the power of art and self expression to challenge the status quo, and that unexpected encounters with art can spark incredible ideas,” said Damian Bradfield, Chief Creative Officer at WeTransfer. “Our vision at WeTransfer is to enable the effortless transfer and transformation of ideas, in large part through cultivating those surprising moments that inspire serendipity. We’re honored to make the remarkable artwork from the Summer Exhibition at the Royal Academy more accessible on a global scale.” 


Suzanne Tromp, Commissioning Editor of WePresent adds: “When we started WePresent, one of our main goals was to talk about art in an accessible and democratic way – we celebrate both emerging and established artists and display them equally on our site. We’re proud to support all the 760 artists shown in the Summer Exhibition by giving them our global platform, especially while the art community struggles during these difficult times.”


Edith Devaney, Head of Summer Exhibitions and Contemporary Curator, Royal Academy of Arts, said: “The Summer Exhibition has taken place every year since 1769, even throughout the war years, and is embedded in UK culture, supporting the artistic community and art education. This open, inclusive and democratic show gives our visitors a much-anticipated display of creativity and joy. We are delighted to have WeTransfer as our digital partner this year. As some of our visitors may not be able to visit in person, due to Covid-19, this partnership will enable us to enhance the reach of the Summer Exhibition globally so that everybody can experience contemporary art made now.”


Nils Leonard, Co-Founder at Uncommon and Advisory Board Member at the Royal Academy of Arts, added: “The Summer Exhibition has been running for over 250 years. It has opened its doors through wars, revolutions and recessions. We’re proud to collaborate with WeTransfer and the Royal Academy, to digitise every piece in this iconic exhibition in its first digital partnership, continuing to bring art to millions despite the pandemic. Art is hope, it’s the best of us, and there’s never been a more important time to celebrate that.”


Since the beginning, WeTransfer has been dedicated to supporting artists and their practice. Through its editorial platform WePresent, WeTransfer celebrates and showcases unexpected stories about creativity, uncovering under-the-radar works of art, photography, and music from around the world and the creative processes behind them. Together, WeTransfer and WePresent are highlighting the fascinating chasm between a spark of an idea and delivery of the final product.


History of the Summer Exhibition

One of the founding principles of the Royal Academy of Arts was to “mount an annual exhibition open to all artists of distinguished merit” to finance the training of young artists in the Royal Academy Schools. The Summer Exhibition has been held every year without interruption since 1769 and continues to play a significant part in raising funds to finance the students of the RA Schools. The RA Schools is the longest established art school in the UK and offers the only free three-year postgraduate programme in Europe. As the world’s largest open submission contemporary art show, the Summer Exhibition provides a unique platform for emerging and established artists to showcase their works to an international audience, comprising a range of media from painting and printmaking to photography, sculpture, architecture and film. Royal Academicians are automatically entitled to submit up to six works to the Summer Exhibition and the rest of the exhibition features work by those invited by the committee and external entrants.


About the Royal Academy of Arts 

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.

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About WeTransfer

WeTransfer makes tools to move ideas. Founded in 2009 in Amsterdam as a simple, well-designed file sharing service for the creative community, WeTransfer has grown to include tools that scale across the creative spectrum, including editorial platform WePresent (with 3M monthly readers), mobile app 'Collect by WeTransfer' (with 4M monthly users), quick slide-making tool Paste® (with 40,000 active teams), immersive sketching tool Paper® (with more than 30M downloads), and the original web platform with 60M monthly users and over a billion files sent each month.

From the beginning, WeTransfer has prioritized bringing “offline” values - trust, transparency, and ethics - online. This means having a responsible data policy and tools that don’t distract people from their creative flow. WeTransfer has pioneered a new means of online advertising, resulting in the platform’s full-page wallpapers, designed by our award-winning in-house creative studio. Advertisers include industry-leading brands like Apple, Saint Laurent, Google, Balenciaga, Samsung, Netflix, Adidas, and Squarespace.

Since its founding, WeTransfer has proudly supported the creative communities and given up to 30% of advertising space to support the arts, donating over 5 billion impressions in 2017. Through our ongoing advertising grant program and content platform, WePresent, we have partnered with hundreds of groundbreaking artists and organizations, including Björk, King Krule, FKA twigs, Ryan McGinley, Ami Vitale, the Nelson Mandela Foundation, the UN Development Program, the World Wildlife Foundation and the Prince Estate. In 2016, WeTransfer launched the world’s first free Masters of the Arts in design thinking with the University of the Underground and Worldwide FM, the global radio station run by legendary BBC DJ Gilles Peterson.

Following a $25 million investment from Highland Europe in 2015, WeTransfer opened a US office in Venice Beach, Los Angeles, to add to the Amsterdam headquarters. In 2018, WeTransfer acquired popular creative apps Paper® and Paste® and expanded its US presence to New York City.

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