Art, London

Saatchi Gallery

15 July 2015

Among the things that made London famous there is the abundance of free-entrance art galleries.
The Saatchi Gallery, owned by businessman Charles Saatchi and located in the Duke of York building in fashionable Chelsea, is a place where to find impressive modern art exhibitions.
Art makes you smart indeed and forces you to slow down and invest your time in the attempt to understand what the artist wants to communicate.
At the moment the Pangaea II: New Art From Africa and Latin America is on display.
Coming from Europe, it could be quite remarkable to notice that almost all the very young artists still have something to say about colonialism. They give us an insight on what “developed” countries export. We should think about the future impact of our actions and policies from a more comprehensive point of view before exporting “values” and “development”.
But let’s start our visit!
In the first room a giant sea of blue plastic bags named Tout doit disparaître!  (Everything Must Go) by Martinican artist Jean-François Boclé goes back to transatlantic slave trade. The bags, which are something very common and cheap in everyday life, represent the lives lost at sea during that period. Everything must go, even this, but the artist makes the disappearance visible.

IMG_9746 (FILEminimizer)IMG_9749 (FILEminimizer)The following room brings us to Central America with Mexican artist Pia Camil and her ceramic objects and Costa Rican Federico Herrero whose geometric compositions are aerial views of his San José.

IMG_9754 (FILEminimizer)IMG_9761 (FILEminimizer)IMG_9772 (FILEminimizer)Then Colombian Diego Mendoza Imbachi takes over with his indissolubly linked to nature artworks. Born in rural Colombia and grown up in Venta Cajibio, a village where most people worked in the farming sector, he witnessed the changes industrialisation brought.
His response was in connecting nature with technology as the hybrid antennae-trees shows.

IMG_9801 (FILEminimizer)IMG_9784 (FILEminimizer)Africa is represented by several artists and Aboudia is one of them.
Born in Ivory Coast, his paintings are anguishing since they embody his fears following the electoral riots in 2011 which forced Aboudia to live in an underground studio for a while.

IMG_9824 (FILEminimizer)Africa also means struggle between past and future.
Eddy Ilunga Kamuanga draws feminine figures with motherboard skin so as to represent the rapid development of big cities as Kinshasa. Nevertheless some women are trying to protect themselves, expression of a place where violence is the order of the day.

IMG_9841 (FILEminimizer)IMG_9854 (FILEminimizer)Constantly expanding African cities are also analysed by Boris Nzebo.
Through the multilayering technique he adds urban backgrounds on the hairstyles and faces of men and women, trying to replicate the complexity of Western African cities.

IMG_9882 (FILEminimizer)The Saatchi Gallery has a permanent installation too (from 1991!) by respected sculptor Richard Wilson.
Called 20:50, room 13 is flooded in engine oil creating a mirror effect: you do not know how the room is built and whether is the floor you are looking at or a holographic pool.

IMG_9818 (FILEminimizer)IMG_9816 (FILEminimizer)Visitors can immerse in the floor trough the walkway which was unfortunately closed.
You can actually blow very carefully on the liquid to see its surface tremble.
This gallery is generally outside tourist attractions and if you are fond of modern art you should definitely put it on your to-do list!

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