Charles Saatchi is one of Britain’s leading art collectors. He began by striving to promote young and hugely provocative talent by scouring colleges for promising students. Saatchi was excited by the idea of discovery and backed whom he thought were potentially the greatest artists of this generation.
In 1985, Saatchi owned a 30,000 sq. foot converted warehouse in North London, initially it was only those people with a dedicated interest in contemporary art who sought out the gallery, the audience however grew steadily and after 18 years of successfully acquiring and exhibiting work, the new Saatchi gallery opened at County Hall in Southbank, on 17th April 2003, a 40,000 sq foot converted gallery, the old home of the GLC.
On display, are works from the most popular and controversial artists of our time, some of whom Charles Saatchi discovered. The exhibition includes work by Damien Hirst, Tracey Emin, The Chapman Brothers, and Marcus Harvey, providing a diverse and ultimately intriguing collection of works being showcased, driving the term ‘Art’ into a new dimension.
Physical Impossibility of Death in the Mind of Someone Living
This untamed seventeen foot Australian Tiger Shark is a trophy of masculine vitality. Captured and put on spectacle in a glass tank filled with formaldehyde, its frigid stillness is shockingly incomprehensible.
This site-specific permanent display is undeniably an intriguing and encapsulating experience. Acting as a mirror, a shiny reflective black mass flooded to waist height, exploits the architecture and the entirety of the gallery. The initial unawareness of the spatial dimensions creates a deeply disorientating effect of mid air suspension.
Hyper-realist sculptor Ron Mueck alters the conventional scale of this unnerving self portrait. Mask is a four feet high sculpture made from acrylic and fibreglass resin, its scale and intricate detail makes the viewer feel intimidated like a frightened child looking up at an irate adult.
In Trace, Saville expresses the constriction marks left from a bra and knickers which has sunk into the female flesh. She constructs this oil painting with a weighty physicality as if it were a sculpture, her impressive visual and psychological penetration in the way she expresses her female models become a powerful theme within her work.
My Bed is a highly ambiguous self portrait of Emin’s personal space, it is a stark reminder that this is where we spend large and crucial portions of our lives, sleeping, being ill, dreaming, making love and ultimately dying. Tracey Emin is a hard core expressionist, but by presenting her bed in its embarrassing glory, she is revealing she is also just as insecure and imperfect as the rest of the world.
This 11ft x 9ft monumental portrait of Myra Hindley, is a shocking, yet powerful image of the serial killer. Created by thousands of tiny children’s handprints this copy of her famous image provokes an evil and unsettling resemblance.
Holy Virgin Mary
Ofili’s holy mother is not the divine image of virtue, surrounded by porn and temptation, she is a tough disciplinarian. The virgin is a black woman in African dress and has all the trademarks of a renaissance painting.
Thursday 10.00 – 6.00pm
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