Saatchi Gallery presents “Champagne Life” a women-only exhibition of works from their collection – a first for the gallery – and celebrating the gallery’s 30th anniversary with a “constellation of female artists…a rare and apposite moment to reflect on what it means to be a female artist working today”. Ends 9 March 2016.
Spotlight on working women
“Champagne Life” celebrates Saatchi Gallery‘s collection of work by international women artists with some farm animals, drawings or paintings of women, and even one gallery stocked deck to dome with kitchen pots. As usual with Saatchi Gallery, the eclectic art soup served to the gallery visitor seems designed to please mostly anyone’s taste in contemporary art (and I do mean anyone), as well as to show off Saatchi’s vast collection. Also, there’s no real overriding curatorial theme here except each of the artists has a uterus.
So moving forward, in the first gallery, Iranian artist Soheila Sokhanvari puts us face-to-face with this lovable character:
‘Moje Sabz‘ is a sculpture meant to “appeal to the literary genre of magic realism, in which ‘reality’ is punctured with fantastical events, revealing meanings more profound that naturalism could hope to do.” This visual metaphor also refers to Iran’s “Green Movement” popular uprising, “… in which violent protesters’ demonstrations lead to the annulment of a fraudulent election result”. It also looks like a horse on a yoga ball.
There are more livestock in the next stall, errm, I mean, gallery, this time a blue donkey by Mia Feuer and a pair of ginger cows by art-farmer Stephanie Quayle:
Entrammelled Eeyore is the result of Feuer’s workshop/residency with Palestinian school children in the early 2000s, referring to the “draconian” laws which forbid Palestinians to drive motor vehicles through checkpoints. The papier-mache work is a tribute to the steadfast creatures the locals use instead.
The life-sized ochre milkers are meant, as Quayle says, to “show how we’re all working so differently and doing what it is that makes us want to get into the studio every day“. Plus it is her direct experience of living on farmsteads, “immersed in the countryside environment and spending time in the wilderness of the Belize, Laos and Bangladesh [that gives her] raw, vital experiences which inform and drive the work“.
Of course, no art exhibition by women is complete without some reference to the many of our important feminine pursuits…
such as, cooking…
…and helping a sister build IKEA furniture in her new flat after finally moving on from That Jerk. You go, girl!
Among my favourite works in the 10 galleries, though, were these three gorgeous biddies by Jelena Bulajic. I wouldn’t want to mess with a-one of them; they may be collective three hundred years old but ageless beauty and a steel core is clearly visible through all the wrinkles.
And in the last room is the perfectly shiny (and only) ball in the whole joint:
The work by Alice Anderson is 181 kilometres of copper thread spun as she walked round-and-round for days, during which “the artist [entered] an almost Zen like meditative state of concentration and choreography.” The piece was commissioned especially for the Saatchi Gallery, and attests to the “intensely physical activity of [making] sculptures“.
This exhibition is thoroughly enjoyable and contains a broad variety of interesting (or at least colourful or shiny) artworks. And considering the hoopla over the fact it’s women-only suggests a showcase like this one is long-overdue. That’s not nothing so let’s pop a cork, ladies! Good on ya, Saatchi, for starting what I hope to be an artistic she-volution. 🙂
More links and information about ‘Champagne Life’
- Find out about “Champagne Life” on the Saatchi Gallery website
- Read more than 100 reviews of “Champagne Life” – links from Saatchi Gallery website
- Review: “Feminine Wiles” in Sunday Times by Waldemar Januszczak – 24 January 2016 – “some might see this unexpected foray into women’s art as an obvious effort at image-shifting…and 2016’s first humdinger”
- Review: “Saatchi Gallery to host its first all-women’s exhibition” in FashionForwardTrends.com, author unknown – 11 January 2016
- More about Mequitta Ahuja, Maha Malluh, and Seung Ah Paik
Reviews about ‘Champagne Life’ at Saatchi Gallery
Exhibition details: “Champagne Life” is on from 13 January to 9 March 2016 at Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY in Chelsea. Free admission, step-free access.
Opening hours: 10am-6pm, 7 days a week