To commemorate Saatchi Gallery’s thirtieth birthday, Charles Saatchi is hosting his first all-female exhibition, Champagne Life, which brings together fourteen emerging female artists from around the world.
I visited the other week with my friend Carmen, and here are some of the pieces that caught my eye…
The first room I visited at this exhibit contained works by Julia Wachtel.
Among these works is Champagne Life (2014), after which this exhibition is name, featuring an inverted image of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian juxtaposed with image of a plastic sculpture of Minnie Mouse.
This is Flat (2014), also by Wachtel.
Probably because of my over-exposure to social media, but I really enjoyed her use of pitting different style visuals against each other. On the one hand I feel like I totally understand what she’s trying to say, and on the other I’ve got no idea what’s going on.
In the next room we saw works by Sigrid Holmwood. And with a bright, neon palette and classical subjects and scenes there’s no way Carmen and I weren’t going to linger.
Making Lye (2007) by Holmwood comments on both the chemical and creative traditions of her artistry. The explanation: lye was used for soap, as well as making pigments for painting.
With Mother and Child (2007) I was drawn to the protective and nurturing bond that Holmwood expresses between the two subjects.
As a child I was convinced that the more wrinkles someone had the smarter they were, which is why ‘old’ people had so much more than children. While I’m now grown up to know this may not necessarily be true, I still find wrinkles appealing and a positive aesthetic.
Ljubica (2012) by Jelena Bulajic completely drew me in. With her wrinkles, curly hair and bold glasses I can’t help but wonder how I’ll look in 30, 40, 50+ years. Hopefully I’ll look just as beautiful and that my facial expression will exhibit just as much empathy.
Lion Man (2013) by Stephanie Quayle was the first thing I noticed when I entered this room.
The detail is incredible, and I love the half man / half beast representation that feels both primitive yet sophisticated. I can’t help but imagine that this is a character from a fable, and there’s a lesson to be learned.
Across the room is Two Cows (2013) by Quayle, and what drew me in was the tender love and affection displayed between these two sculptures.
Here you can see Lion Man in the background, and lining the walls around these scultupres were works by Seung Ah Paik.
I noticed Autolandscape (2012-13) first, and loved how sensual and erotic, yet somehow abstract, the piece is. Staring at it feels almost like a tantalising dream.
I’m a sucker for black and white, and that attraction was strong when I saw these works by Suzanne McClelland.
This is Frank ‘The Chemist’ (Ideal Proportions) (2013) by McClelland, and it’s meant to be a commentary about our lives and the internet, where everything is text-based and our activity is maintained through data.
Phil ‘The Gift’ and Jay ‘Cuts’ (Ideal Proportions) (2013) are along the same theme of computation.
Untitled 21, 1:37–4:33 PM, January 5, and 09:17–11:27 AM, January 6, 2016 by Julia Dault.
I absolutely love the movement, colours and textures with these pieces by Dault, which certainly speak to my personal aesthetic. The perspex has been bent and bound, secured so that they don’t spring back to their original, flat formation. This leaves a sense of action with the currently still piece.
Untitled 19, 10:27 AM–1:13 PM, January 5, and 5:08–6:48 PM, January 6, 2016 by Julia Dault.
Like the other, this sculpture has the similar sense of movement and action. With the added intrigue of the metallic finishes.
From looking at Instagram (I’m no exception!) I think Maha Malluh’s Food for Thought “Almuallaqat 4” (2016) has been one of the most shared pieces from this show.
This piece comments on the impact of globalisation and consumer culture on Saudi Arabia, where she lives and works. It’s made of aluminum cooking pots traditionally used throughout the Arab world, which she found in junk shops and flea markets. Each of these cooking pots were used then discarded by someone else.
Mia Feuer’s Jerusalem Donkey (2015) is a homage to the donkeys that Palestinians rode through roadblocks because it was forbidden to drive motor vehicles through them.
Alice Anderson’s Bound (2011) and 181 Kilometers (2015) were each commissioned by galleries. 181 Kilometers was commissioned especially for the Saatchi Gallery, and Bound was made for the Freud Museum in London.
To create 181 Kilometers, Anderson spun 181 kilometers of copper thread into a spherical shape by walking it round and round. Her first works involved performances, and for her this was an extension of that experience.
Alice Anderson’s Bound (2011) references a game Sigmund would play with his grandson to calm what he saw as his anxiety of his mother’s absence, using a bobbin of string.
Champagne Life is free to see and open until 9th March 2016.