29/12/14

Today I went to The Saatchi Gallery. I was impressed to see the work there, it was the most interesting I had seen so far. They had done renovation to the inside of the building, the layout was changed and it felt more inviting as the rooms were made smaller and sectioned off instead of being huge. There was a lot more work exhibited than usual also, making most of the space. There was a lot of sculpture, a lot more than paintings, which was nice to see as usually the work is mostly paintings and the styles are similar, there was a lot of variety and mixed media and materials used. On the wall there was information also about the concepts and a bit of information about the pieces. One piece I liked was of a toilet which looked like it had been made from lots of pieces of leather. Also there was adaptations of Pop Art pieces, including from Andy Warhol's toilet, there was a toilet made from what gave the appearance of gold and also a few smaller ones which looked like they had been sculpted fairly messy and painted in different colours. The leather looking toilet was by the artist Vladimir Kozin, it was called The Toilet, 2013, made from rubber and wire 122x82x82. I liked how the materials used wasn't the materials I initially thought had been used. 

 There was various concepts and a different concept in each room. There were very interesting concepts, and I was surprised to see a lot of dictatorship type art pieces filling one of the rooms, I don't often see such works when I go to galleries, and this was very intriguing. One room was called 'Habitat' which explained: 'Pop Art looks closely at the way we live, focussing on the man-made environment and the mass-produced artefacts within it. Whether humble or with aspirations to glamour worn from use or immaculately new, familiar to the point of banality or exaggerated in their Kitsch appeal, domestic spaces and their associated contents have continued both to fascinate and repel artists whose aesthetic vision has been formed partly in response to Pop.

Another room was about Advertising and Consumerism: 'After years of wartime and post-war austerity, the opening of the floodgates to advertising and eager consumerism first in America during the 1950s and slightly belatedly in Britain introduced a rich new spectacle for Pop Artists to present in their art. Artists born during or after that period in the West took this for granted while sometimes casting a more cynical or dubious glance over the 'aesthetics of plenty'. For Russian and Chinese artists whose lives were formed under Communist regimes the situation has been even more complicated and nuanced given the parallels they have witnessed between political propaganda and the embrace of a market-led economy that have transformed their societies in recent decades. 

Another room was about Ideology and religion. It was the room I found most interesting and the sculptures and figures really popped out, filled and controlled the room, it set an atmosphere. The concept was about 'the ideological barriers confronted by artists in Russia and China particularly through to the 1980s were such powerful sources that the artists working there could harpy fail to address them, particularly if they were choosing to avail themselves of strategies associated with western Pop Art as these alignments were themselves ideologically loaded. In the UK and USA a more overtly political stance or engagement with religion surfaced only occasionally. These loaded subjects have nevertheless remained a powerful point of reference, particularly for Russian and Chinese artists seeking to define their position in relation to the recent past.'

I found these concepts interesting and powerful, the use of colours, black and red left a serious impression, some were humorous, but done in a serious way which made it more intriguing. Another room was about Mass Media: 'Celebrity culture came into its own during the 1950s and 1960s as an intrinsic by-product of the imagery and information fed to the public through the many channels of the mass media: magazines, newspapers, photography, television and the cinema. However manipulated and enhanced this synthetic version of reality now dictates our responses to the world to such a degree as to have become the sounding-board against which many artists measure their place in the world.

The last room was Art History: The notion of making art about art was central to the work of some of the original Pop artists following on logically as it did from the freedom with which they adapted their imagery from the frames of comic strips, advertisements, product designs and other existing objects. For subsequent generations the appropriation and reinterpretation of existing artistic languages including that of Pop Art itself has become an essential strategy through which to withstand the weight of art history while acknowledging the difficulty of creating new and wholly original ways of seeing. 

I saw Jeff Koons' work also which were two pieces that I hadn't seen face to face before. It was of the basketballs, and when I moved looking at them the size and angle they were at seemed to change which created an illusion. There were a few porn type pictures which I didn't like or agree with, I don't think you can say sexually explicit images are art. I do not agree the term that art can be anything its just an excuse to let you make and present whatever you want.

© Ruth Zoe Andreas, all rights reserved