Saturday, February 3rd 2018
The cold weather has made us somewhat sluggish and unwilling to tramp the streets. As an alternative we fell back on that old stand-by, the bus ride. Though we grumble about it when it goes wrong, London’s public transport network is pretty good. For rapid travel between two points, choose the Underground, the Overground or National Rail, which serves many stations within the Greater London area. For more interesting routes and a slower speed that enables you to see and appreciate them, take the bus. We took several, and completed a circular tour, as shown on the map below. (I have eclipsed the area where we live for reasons of privacy.)
Riding the bus
The little camera icons will tell you that we did stop somewhere and as this somewhere is labelled ‘Saatchi Gallery’ you will know exactly where we stopped.
The Saatchi Gallery bears visiting regularly. It is large enough to accommodate several reasonably sized exhibitions at once, so there is usually plenty of variety. The emphasis is on contemporary art and lesser known artists. I have written about our many visits – just type Saatchi into the search box to be presented with posts on the topic.
Today, we were a little disappointed as there didn’t seem to be much that was different from our last visit and what there was didn’t particularly thrill either of us. The result was that I took a few photos without any particular rhyme or reason. I show these below.
General gallery view
How do you explore an art gallery? We usually take the lift to the top floor and work our way down. That at least covers all the angles, so to speak. Something that impresses me about the Saatchi is how popular it is. Contemporary art is considered ‘difficult’ by many people and so it is encouraging to see so many visitors, including families with young children, taking time to view (and photograph) the exhibits.
I don’t know the official name of this room so I call it the large gallery. It has an entrance at floor level and also a balcony from which this scan shot was taken. This makes it a very flexible space and it has been used for many different purposes as, for example, when it was filled with engine oil for Richard Wilson’s 20:50. On another occasion it temporarily became the gallery shop.
Seen from above
One doesn’t often get a chance to see artworks from above and so this was a welcome opportunity. It was also fascinating to see the people as they viewed the exhibits, walking around them, stepping back and forth, photographing them and collectively engaging in a sort of impromptu ballet.
These works are part of an exhibition entitled Iconoclasts: Art out of the Mainstream. Here are some ground-level views:
Echoes of the Kill
Alexi Williams Wynn, 2015
See also Alexi Williams Wynn’s biography and selected works.
Kate MCCGwire, 2011
See also Kate MccGwire’s biography and selected works.
New Skin for an Old Ceremony
Douglas White, 2011
See more on Dougles White here.
I am usually sparing of photos of paintings. It feels a bit like shooting fish in a barrel but it can be surprisingly difficult to get the photo right: you only have to be a little off-centre or to tilt the camera and the picture appears distorted in your photo. Even if you succeed, so what? There will probably be lots of better photos of the painting on the gallery Website and elsewhere. Photographing sculptures is different: you can often walk around them and photograph them from different angles, making your own personal selection of views and giving the work the particular character that goes with that selection. In some ways it’s even more difficult than photographing paintings but it’s also more fun!
Anyway, here is a photo of a painting. Just the one. It too is part of the Iconoclasts exhibition.
Aaron Fowler, 2013
A special feature of this painting that may not be obvious at first glance is that the chair at bottom left is an actual chair (or lifesize model of one) affixed to the canvas, so we have a meeting of painting and sculpture or a three-dimensional painting, however you want to categorize it. This mixing of genres in art seem to be increasingly popular. See more on Aaron Fowler here.
Having fed the aesthetic hunger, we set about feeding the physical body. We finally settled for a branch of PizzaExpress, which, if neither too original or exciting at least provides amenable service and a reliable standard of food. Then we took a bus once more, this time for home.
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