The Saatchi Gallery


Closest Underground Station: Sloane Square

Admission: Free

I recently visited the Saatchi Gallery (‘SG’) in Chelsea, which was quite an inspiring experience. I also just watched an amazingly cheesy Hilary Duff movie on Netflix called “The Perfect Man”. Both of these events have made me think I need to get more personal with my blogging. *MEGALOLZ*

The Saatchi Gallery was opened in 1985, by the alleged wife choker Charles Saatchi. I didn’t expect a great deal before I entered the gallery if I’m totally honest. Art is amazing because it allows you to express the deepest parts of yourself. However, I have always enjoyed art for its creative process rather than viewing the product of other people’s creativity.

Until the day I visited the Saatchi Gallery, I don’t think I had ever fully appreciated the enjoyment that can be gained from interpretation. When an explanation hasn’t been provided, in any circumstance, the brain begins its search for one and interprets the information available. With art we can bring our own interpretation; we can associate the imagery with our own experiences. In this way, the artist has the ability to make us feel – whether the feeling matches their own or not. This may seem like a basic concept, but it was the first time I had experienced it in practice.

The rooms at the entrance of the SG are so bright and inviting. The first pieces I came to were a series of works by Ephrem Soloman. These multi textured pieces were a simple idea executed in an innovative and striking way. I don’t know what the artist intended these images to convey, but the rustic ‘scraping’ technique brought a sense of tension to his work.

By Ephrem Soloman
By Ephrem Soloman

The galleries that followed embodied joyful expression through colour. I particularly enjoyed this piece by Jean-Francois Boclé, called ‘Everything Must Go’.

Everything Must Go by Jean-Francois Boclé

However as light as the main galleries had been, the exhibition ‘Dead: A Celebration of Mortality’ was just as dark. The pieces in this gallery were disturbing, often harrowing and at times just disgusting.

These days not a lot seems to shock me. Sudden unemployment and an unknown future, the slow betrayal of a friend, a spurt of media attention – it all just seems par for the course. You watch the news and there’s nothing but death, disease and destruction; all very upsetting but none of it surprising. We are totally desensitised.

So when I entered a room and saw a pile of dead bodies covered in rubbish, a collection of the most horrific dictators and terrorists in modern history in one image and the carcasses of dead animals, I finally got my shock. This exhibition took such dark twists and turns, that some parts of it were difficult to look at.

Cat and dog skins
Column made of dead mice
Tools for mummification

If you’re feeling a bit bored of your life and you need something to smack you out of monotony then I can’t think of a better place to start than the SG. The death exhibition turned what would have been a pleasant but ordinary experience into something outrageous, shocking and grounding. The Gao Brother’s image ‘The Interview’ caused me to GOL (gasp out loud) as I gradually uncovered and recognised each face in the print.

The Interview by the Gao Brothers

It’s easy to get bogged down in ‘first world problems’- “Life is dull”… “I’ve gained weight”… “Why is she talking about me behind my back?” The fact of the matter is that none of it really matters. Who cares if you’re bored of your job or if your friends are bitches? One day we are all going to be like those dead things in Charles Saatchi’s exhibition and the only thing that really matters is making sure that you do something useful before it’s over.

Maybe I was just feeling extra sensitive that day, but the SG was a really jolting experience for me and one which I feel really impacted the decisions I made for the rest of that week. I would highly recommend visiting this gallery, but would encourage visiting it alone to get the most out of your experience.

I promise the next post will be less bleak 🙂

Thanks for reading,

~Plane Emoji

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