London

The Saatchi Gallery in London

I don’t remember how I heard about the Saatchi Gallery but I’m glad I did.

Normally, I’m not a huge fan of contemporary art. But when I had a look on the website, everything pushed me to go: the exhibitions seemed interesting and not too weird (which wasn’t the case in most contemporary museums I visited before), the Gallery Mess Restaurant, Bar & Café looked like a nice spot for a drink, a snack or more and the admission was free.The Saatchi Gallery aims to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible but also to provide an innovative forum for contemporary art, presenting work by largely unseen young artists or by international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the UK.

I finally went with my mother (yes, again! We did so many things the weekend she was there!) on a Sunday morning.
The gallery is on 4 levels and accessible to persons with reduced mobility.
With large rooms and high ceilings, it offers an ideal environment to view contemporary art.
The exhibitions tend to change quite often, every month or so.
The day we went, there were 3 exhibitions presented:
-“Pangea: new art from Africa and Latin America”
-“Second floor: The Private apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel”
-“Departure”

“Pangea: new art from Africa and Latin America” is shown until November 2. 
It’s actually the main exhibition at the moment. It gathers pieces of art from 16 artists with totally different styles. The result was eclectic and great. However, I regretted that there was no explanation about the works. It would have been interesting to understand their contexts, as most of them are politically and socially engaged.
Rafal Gomezbarros – Casa Tomada
Aboudia – Djoly du Mogoba
Romy Schneider and Alain Delon

“Second floor: the private apartment of Mademoiselle Chanel” is shown until October 4. 

The 34 photographs taken by Sam Taylor-Johnson capture the intimate world of Coco Chanel at 31 rue Cambron in Paris by highlighting and immortalizing objects and furniture that she treasured so much.

Don’t miss the 10 minutes film, which is an interview of Mademoiselle Chanel at the end of her life. You can still see that she was a determinated and witty woman!
 
“Departure” from Xavier Mascaro is shown until October 5.

This exhibition gathers a range of sculptural works showcasing his adventurous experimentation with traditional casting techniques and includes a poignant and imposing installation of boats made from bronze and iron which are evocative of long-forgotten shipwrecks.

Alongside this installation, you’ll find iron portraits of a young woman from Eleonora series (reminiscent of the profiles on ancient coins), as well as metal works resembling votive figures from Idols series which address cult imagery and veneration.

There is also an outdoor installation composed of 10 feet tall, rusted iron warriors from Guardian series greeting visitors on the pathway leading to the gallery. Accodring to your mindset, you’ll see the influence of a medieval armour, ancient Greek and Egyptian art or even Buddha!
Finally, located on the lower ground floor, you’ll find the only permanent exhibition that has been shown in each gallery venue since 1991: 20:50 from Richard Wilson. 
This piece of art is quite disturbing.
First because what you think is solid proves actually to be liquid. And if you need to be convinced, just blow very gently on the surface.
Second because the ceiling, the walls and the windows are perfectly reflecting on the ground and if you look intensely, you’ll be completely disorientated.
Third because there is a very strong smell coming from the work.
Four because the material involved is very unusual: used sump oil.

Therefore, there is a strong contradiction between the immaculate beauty of the work and the hazardous nature of its material.

After the visit, you’ll have several options:
-Order something to drink and/or eat at the Gallery Mess Restaurant, Bar & Café 
-Go shopping at the Duke of York Square
-Visit the Farmers Market on Saturdays
 
10am-6pm, 7 days a week, last entry 5:30pm
 
Saatchi Gallery
Duke of york’s HQ
Kings Rd
London SW3 4RY

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