Coinciding with its thirtieth birthday, Saatchi Gallery is opening on 13th January an all female show ‘Champagne Life’ featuring a cast of emerging international artists: Julia Wachtel, Mequitta Ahuja, Virgile Ittah, Marie Angeletti, Julia Dault, Alice Anderson, Jelena Bulajic, Mia Feuer, Sigrid Holmwood, Seung Ah Paik, Maha Malluh, Suzanne McClelland, Stephanie Quayle and Soheila Sokhanvari.
The exhibition title is based on one of the artwork from participating artist, Julia Wachtel. Her canvas represents an inverted image of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian with a poorly copied plastic sculpture of Minnie Mouse, convergence between the fantastical with the real world. Epitome of the current culture driven by the lust for celebrity, champagne is a relatively affordable signification of luxury life, the highest aspiration and emptiest cipher.
‘Food for Thought – Al-Muallaqat‘ installation by Saudi Arabian artist Maha Mallu highlights the impact of globalisation and consumer culture within her nation. Suspended used aluminium pots refer to The pre-Islamic 6th century Suspended Odes or Hanging Poems traditionally hung in Mecca.
A blue papier mache donkey lays down attached with rope. ‘Jerusalem Donkey’ is a collaborative work by Mia Feuer and Palestinian children, a tribute to the animal used during roadblocks in the region as it was forbidden for Palestinians to drive motor vehicles.
The taxidermy horse sculpture ‘Moje Sabz’ by Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari is a visual metaphor of the ‘Green Movement’ uprising of 2009, in which violent protesters’ demonstrations led to the annulment of a fraudulent election result.
Extracting text, colour and forms from various political and cultural sources, the abstract paintings by US artist Suzanne McClelland focus on the omnipresence of data and code and illustrate evasive domestic terrorists in the US.
Marie Angeletti juxtaposes a series of images, photographies, canvases, watercolors a bit like a quick Google image search, providing different interpretations to the meaning or the associative links.
Cultivating plants and making her own hand made dye and pigments, Sigrid Holmwood‘s peasants paintings have fluorescent and psychedelic colours and reminiscent of the Impressionism era.
Pale and frail life-size bodies made of wax and marble powder by Virgile Ittah are laying on iron beds, looking mortified. In the same room, intricate charcoal portraits of the older generation by Jelena Bulajic play with scale, whether miniature or monumental. ‘I am attracted to the human ‘map’ contained within a face, and the layers of its skin – a bodily margin that bridges the distance between the inner and the outer.’
Ossifying objects using copper thread, symbol of neural transmitter of information and communication, Alice Anderson explores the transition of the physical world to the digital one. Her large bobbin sculpture ‘Bound’ is a reference to the game Freud used to play with his grandson to calm him down.
Inspired by ancient textile printing and stamping techniques, Mequitta Ahuja‘s work depicts cobalt blue female figures and self portraits in a fantastic universe.
Korean artist Seung Ah Paik explores the relationship with her own skin through monumental flesh coloured raw canvases zooming on human details like hands, limbs, nipples.
Large clay sculptures by Stephanie Quayle depict animals and the force of nature inherent within. ‘Two Cows’ are gazing at the viewers while Lion Man ‘s muscular figure radiates strongly with its presence.
Using plexi materials, individually contorted and controlled by strings and boxing glove strapping, Julia Dault‘s sculptures are ready to spring open at any moment. The title of the artworks also indicates the length of time that the artist has wrestled with the materials).
View the full set of pics here
Champagne Life – Saatchi Gallery
Until 6 March 2016
Duke of York’s HQ
London SW3 4RY