I spent the last weekend up in london and had a free day, so I did what I always do when I have a free day in London, I went to visit some galleries. I decided to start at the Saatci Gallery because I liked the look of their new exhibition, Body Language.
On arriving to the Saatchi I was annoyed by the usual things, having to pay for a guide, strange layout of the building etc… All was forgotten quickly though. The exhibition itself seems to centre on the ways people are portrayed and the ways in which we like to portray ourselves.
Going from gallery to gallery I was confronted by the eclectic mix of styles I have come to expect from the Saatchi Gallery; ranging from humorous sculptures to vibrant paintings and haunting wooden gravestones. The thing with what’s shown at the Saachi is that, at the same time as covering a massive spectrum of ideas and processes, it still manages to hold classic roots. Painting, sculpture and photography.
Starting in gallery one and slowly trying to make my way numerically though the exhibition spaces, however difficult it may be, I found that the exhibition started somewhat lacklustre. Walls of paintings on paintings in a loose style which try to grasp as much meaning as possible. However, there were some interesting images. I came upon the work of the Japanese painter Makiko Kudo. Surreal colourful landscapes with manga style characters painted into and across them. As I looked at the images it started to remind me of being a child and loosing myself in comics and video games. Creating a fantasy world in which you can be whoever you wish. Your image is yours to create.
I think for me the star of the show was the work of Denis Tarasov, a Russian photographer who takes images of gravestones with pictures of the deceased carved onto them. What I found so interesting about this is, when looking at each person you can get an idea of who they might have been, or at least who they wanted you to think they were. Clearly the people immortalised in expensive stones were of a certain wealth. Some graves boasted this with gold inlays and pictures of their cars and castles, and some played it down. A humble looking woman standing in front of a landscape doesn’t her wealth but rather her power as she appears taller than even mountains. All of these graves acted as a strange neo-egyptican burial tradition, leaving this world with all the things that you believe make you strong and impressive, on a plaque for everyone to see.
Tarasov’s work there was in the gallery with the installation work by Marianne Vitale which echos the photos as well as juxtaposing them. The wooden graves taken from lumberyards act as a physical memories of the factories or warehouses the wood was reclaimed from. The scarring, knocks and cuts across the timber show as battle scars and time marks from their previous lives. The humble wooden graves symbolising the previous jobs and lives offset the high quality prints of egotistical burial markers.
All in all I would say that I definitely enjoyed my visit to the Saatchi Gallery and want to thank the stewards for giving me invaluable insight to the work.
Thanks for reading.