Sunday, April 5, 2009

In London -- The New Saatchi

I learned early on that the Saatchi Gallery, nicely located next to the London Eye, had moved. In fact, a new building has been built and opened near Sloane Square in Chelsea. But it does not, as I learned, include the Marc Quinn and Damian Hirst pieces for which the gallery had become famous.

The physical space, layout, everything else about the new building is just awesome. It is huge, full of light, regular, large exhibitions spaces on two floors with great lawn space in front. But the exhibition philosophy has changed. There will now be rotating exhibits every three months or so. The Marc Quinn self-portrait in frozen blood is no longer available. The Chapman Brothers, Hirst, others are all gone or in storage. What is on exhibit now are works by Iranian artists (YIA's after the YBA's of yore).

My favorite piece of this exhibition was a room full of "shrouds" constructed of aluminum foil. They could be of figures praying, or hunched in death. (Remember the shrouds in "Black Hole" the movie?) [Right]

But the view from the front is in many ways more interesting. The ghostly "nothingness" of the faces becomes apparent. [Left]

I was interested to discover that the Saatchi permits cameras and pictures. I think this is a good thing, though I happily didn't see any flashes.

Among other images I remember were those deconstructing the image of women. Again, Shrouds were prominent, but instead of faces were items of domestic enslavement: a broom [Top -- an iPhone picture, excuse the fuzziness!] , an iron, and so on.

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