If you are staying in London and having time limit, you have to choose carefully, what to see. As for me I definitely always choose Saatchi gallery. Wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saatchi_Gallery says that Saatchi gallery is a London gallery for contemporary art, opened by Charles Saatchi in 1985 in order to exhibit his collection to the public. It has occupied different premises, first in North London, then the South Bank by the River Thames, and finally inChelsea, its current location. Saatchi’s collection—and hence the gallery’s shows—has had distinct phases, starting with US artists and minimalism, moving to the Damien Hirst-led Young British Artists, followed by shows purely of painting, and then returning to contemporary art from America in USA Today at the Royal Academy in London. A 2008 exhibition of contemporary Chinese art formed the inaugural exhibition in the new venue for the gallery at the Duke of York’s HQ.
The gallery has been a major influence on art in Britain since its opening. It has also had a history of media controversy, which it has actively courted, and has earned extremes of critical reaction. Many artists shown at the gallery are unknown not only to the general public but also to the commercial art world; showing at the gallery has provided a springboard to launch careers.
In 2010, it was announced that the gallery would be given to the British public, becoming the Museum of Contemporary Art for London.
Not only because entrance to all exhibitions there is for free, because the gallery is easily accessible by bus, and exhibited works are really interesting, but because the gallery seems to be the quintessence of London’s art life. That, of course, only is my personal opinion. Saatchi gallery simply is my favourite gallery. This time it happened that I visited it twice, so expect a lot of photos 🙂
I was lucky, because currently were displayed two exhibitiond: Pangea: New Art from Africa and Latin America. As you know, Latin America is always an object of my avid interest. And much we know about what is going on in its art world. Nothing, of course. And second exhibit was that of Ucrainian new artists that is even of more interest because of the current situation there and Russian interference into the state’s affairs. Unfortunately this exhibition lasts only till the 2nd of November. Gallery will be closed from 17th to 25th November. So, I’ll try to give a small insight.
Artwork by Colombian artist Rafael Gomezbarros. Hundreds of ants in this installation, whose bodies are composed of cast human skulls. The artist adresses the plight of millions of displaced immigrants who are constantly crossing the planet in searxh of assilum, and who are rendered invisible by the media. The works’title Casa Tomada refferences Argentinian writer Julio Cortazar, who declared, ‘unless a country buries it’s dead, there will always remain ghosts in the attic.”
Christian Rosa, Dead on Arrival
Brasilian artist Ch. Rosa employs pencil, spray paint and oil paint in his very physical painting of large canvases, creating abstract pictures. Similarly to Wassily Kandinsky, Rosa aims to express inner subjective experiences rather than an imitation of the material world. In his work colour and form maintain their mystery, becoming more akin with the emotional power of music, and moving the viewer towards a spiritual engagement with art. The result is meditative ensemble of a white background punctuated with subtle lines sketched in primary colours and gestural pencil paths that suggest forms such as faces, raindrops and body parts.
Jose Carlos Martinat. Ejercicio Superficial, The Peruvian artist looks to the streets of the two cities he calls home – Lima and Mexico City – bringing together ideas of architecture and the urban milieu, and human and cyber memories in his work. Martinat has a penchant for kitsch aesthetics which he articulates by stealing samples of bright coloured graffiti tags from the windows of abandoned urban buildings.
Antonio Malta Campos. Figures in Red.
Brazilian artist jams together rebellious elements in his close fitting paintings. Organic forms gradually emerge as layers of colour are laid down, the paint’s transparency revealing both figurative forms and abstract, cubist shapes from within. Painted motifs are mixed with collaged photographs, echoinf Dada and Bauhaus experiments in photomontage. Malta Campos’ use of sampling and layering are reminiscent of the unstable improvisation of early jazz, seeming to indicate that if his works were audible, they would sound like unpredictable clashing chords.
Oscar Murillo. Dark Americano. Born in Colombia, the artist emigrated to London as a child, where he adopted a foreign language, cultural code and customs, and underwent an inescapable process of transformation. If identity is formed from our mother tongue and the food that nourished us as children, regardless of how far from home we travel, the presence of written language and food-stuffs in Murillo’s oeuvre become an act of resilience, Murillo uses Spanish-language snack wrappings in his work, choosing to crush and collage them rather than presenting them as ready-mades as in traditional conceptual art.
Jose Lerma’s works illustrate the rise and fall of powerful historical figures. Either looking back to Puerto Rico’s wars or to bygone celebrities, Lerma begind his intricate paintings with layers of ball pen doodles. The heaps of cartoon-style drawings accumulate on canvas as if struggling for air to breath. The artist then returns with paint and household products, such as pink military parachutes, which are used to either veil or frame to oversized portraits.
African art tomorrow!