11 October 2012

The Saatchi Gallery

I went on a trip to London a few weeks ago and one of the things I wanted to do was to visit some museums/galleries. Admission is usually free {except for some special exhibitions} which is TADA!, right? The quiet time for a few hours is another TADA!, plus you'll never know what you may find.

I've been curious about the Saatchi Gallery, primarily because I used to work at Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising. One of the founders of the ad agency, Charles Saatchi, is an art collector and he opened the Saatchi Gallery to showcase his collection.

The gallery, which was once located in London's South Bank, sits in a new home on King's Road {near Sloane Square}. 

However, Charles Saatchi's art collection is not on display. Instead, the gallery is a venue for young artists or international artists whose work have not been exhibited in the United Kingdom. What a great opportunity for them to launch their art!  

It puts the spotlight on contemporary art and the exhibits change quickly.

When I was there, "Korean Eye" was featured. It's a collection of works by contemporary Korean painters, sculptors and photographers.  

Here are some of the pieces that caught my eye:

"Battle of Conception" by Debbie Han
These are made of Celadon ceramic and remind me of characters on a chess board. I like the symmetry of repetition but if you look at their faces, each one is different.  

"The Floating World" by You Myung Gyun
This hanging sculpture is made of ink on newspaper. It's quite sad, like a burnt pinata. I wonder if the artist is saying that this is the sorry state of our planet.

"A Storm in a Teacup" by Choi Chongwoon
Mundane objects like a teacup on a stool. But if you look closer:

"A Storm in a Teacup" by Choi Chongwoon
The tea inside the cup is spinning like a whirlpool!
A bit of science infused in art.

Cardboard art by Kim Hyuen Jun
These are made of cardboard packaging {blah to TADA!, woot! woot!}

Cardboard art by Kim Hyuen Jun
I didn't dare sit on it for fear of being thrown out. 
Doesn't it look like an aged leather seat?

Cardboard art by Kim Hyuen Jun
 I can see this chair as part of a bachelor pad or modernist home.

Toy installation by Ahn Doojin
I found this a little bizarre. It's composed of odds and ends like toys, skewers, Styrofoam and the like. I could see that they're made of the blah, but I'm unsure of the TADA!

 Toy installation (details) by Ahn Doojin
A closer look at the same piece. I did make me wonder, though, how long the artist collected these objects. Were these his? Were they inherited? Did he collect them from strangers? It's art that makes you think. ;-)

"String Hands 0246" by Hong Sungchul 
This one, I found impressive. It's a photo printed on elastic string producing a 3-dimensional effect.  

"String Hands 0246" by Hong Sungchul 
I liked the symbolism of elastic string as both "anxiety" and "release" depending on how tight the string is wound. 

"The Nora Collection" by Cho Duck Hyun
These are portraits made with graphite and charcoal. At first glace they look very serious and traditional. But if you stare longer, some frames are deconstructed. I also like that the pieces of cloth {from the veil, dress or blanket} extend outside the frame. 

"The Nora Collection" by Cho Duck Hyun
This gives the illusion that the heroine just walked into the frame or is ready to step out.

"Dancer in Nature"/"Irrelevant Answer" by Lee Gilwoo
I like the technique used in these paintings, like they were made of a gazillion polka-dots.

"Dancer in Nature"/"Irrelevant Answer" by Lee Gilwoo
 The artist used a soldering iron, Indian ink and coating on Korean paper. What a unique combination!

"Theresa" by Hyung Koo Kang
This looks like a photo of Mother Theresa but it's really an oil painting on aluminum. The focus on her hands in prayer and the wrinkles of service are very powerful. 

"Honeymoon Island" by Yoo Haeri 
I was drawn to the colors of this painting, 
they seem to radiate joy. 

To be totally honest, I have mixed feelings about contemporary art. Some confuse me, and some make me think twice whether these can be considered art. But hey, based on this exhibition, I think I'm starting to appreciate it!


  1. Contemporary art always made me think of an episode happened at a Contemporary Museum we have - www.museuberardo.pt. Myth or not story says that there was an exhibition which one piece consisted in a sink destroyed in a corner. In the morning the services cleaned it up to the outrage of the artist and Museum curators. She must have thought "if it looks like garbabe... better pick it up hum hum"

    I guess the main objective was achieved in you. To make think twice... before picking the broom at least ahahahah
    Thank you for sharing!

  2. That's funny Teresa! I wonder how the artist reacted :) "Slow appreciation for contemporary art" is the phase I'm in. Have a nice weekend!


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