Magazine of art press and reviews from London
An exhibition on “Paper” at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
David Franchi – Saturday, 29th June 2013
“gives ideas about the usage of this material in art”
“Paper” reshapes our ideas of this material, at the Saatchi Gallery, London.
Paper is an old material, coming from China, which oldest finds are dated around 2.200 years ago. It is used in many different ways, including as food. Nowadays is more and more replaced, for example, by using informatics devices. Artists involved in “Paper” create new perception about the use of this material, rewriting our knowledge.
Paper is one of the oldest materials mankind employed. Conditions of use are many and different: books, documents, packaging, envelopes, cooking, personal hygiene, letters, publishing, art, etc… and even as food, in certain part of Asia. The importance of the paper is undisputable and this material allowed reaching a level of development never before seen in the human history. Verba volant, scripta manent, Romans were used to say; words fly away, written paper remains, or when something is written on paper its meaning is secured.
Nowadays there are many devices, such as mobile phones, kindle, computers that apparently paper consumes should lower. There are also paperless companies, which do not use paper. However, it is not like that but rather the opposite, due to increasing consume in the developing countries.
In the past it already happened to diverse medium, today paper is losing employment. For example think about paintings and watercolours: when photography started to spread around these medium had to reinvent themselves.
Well it seems now the paper is on the turn. “Paper” at the Saatchi Gallery, London, gives ideas about the usage of this material in art, gathering 44 international artists who realised their works for this exhibition.
The international artists at the Saatchi Gallery exhibition challenge our received ideas and expectations about paper as a material
and, across a range of media (drawing, collage, sculpture, painting and installation) demonstrate its richness and versatility.
This exhibition is built on the idea that in a progressively more virtual world, the use of paper will reduce, but it is refreshed by artists – who are always keen to think laterally, and possibly contrary.
This show seems to be confused in its artworks disposal, including some mumbling rooms where the message is unclear. Perhaps Charles Saatchi was not on the ball these last days, distracted by his personal family affairs. Or maybe 44 artists were too many to be hosted.
Nevertheless, “Paper” at the Saatchi Gallery, is a good show to visit. It gives new ideas and concepts about paper. For example, “Couch for a Long Time” (2009) by Jessica Jackson Hutchins a sofa lined with newspaper pages picturing President Obama. Ceramics up on it, though representing bodies, seems to be a bit disjointed. It seems this is the couch used by Hutchins family many years ago in their living room when the artist was a child – but there is nothing written in the exhibition guide. Therefore, this work should be about a personal reminiscence over decades, a memory recall.
“Planos Pipas n17” (2013), an installation by Marcelo Jácome, is filling one entire room. It is a work made of tissue papers, bamboo, thread and fibreglass, representing kites, which towers in the room but filling it with colours and gives a light but intense feeling of gracefully movement.
Fascinating the series “L- R” (2005) by Yuken Teruya, who used paper bags – from posh shops and McDonald – placing them in a row on shelves hanged to the gallery wall such as box spaces. In each bag a side is finely cut and it is pushed in a standing position, so if one watches inside the bag can see a tree.
Zak Smith plays with sex here. Apart from a portrait of the famous porno star Sasha Grey, he depicted his muse “Girls in the naked girl business: Mandy Morbid II” – who is one of the Suicide Girls – (2007) who is also in “100 Girls and 100 Octopuses” (2005) a painting made of 98 small paintings, all representing sex scenes between women and octopuses.
Therefore, “Paper” exhibition assumes a different connotation, an artistic side. This material – of which the first finds are from the 2nd century BC in China – unlocks the way to many diverse artistic routes, turning into a vibrantly and lively matter.
Artists in exhibiting in “Paper” at the Saatchi Gallery, London, are: Rachel Adams, Aglaé Bassens, Matthew Brannon, Jason Brinkerhoff, Jodie Carey, Ana Cvorovic, Dawn Clements, Sean Dack, Gerald Davis, Freya Douglas-Morris, Peles Empire, Han Feng, Nicola Frimpong, Ry Fyan, Hilary Harnischfeger, Karen Heagle, Christian Holstad, Jessica Jackson Hutchins, Marcelo Jácome, Nina Katchadourian, Annie Kevans, John Kleckner, Douglas Kolk, Miler Lagos, José Lerma & Héctor Madera, Steven Lowery, Eric Manigaud, Dominic McGill, Odires Mlászho, Klaus Mosettig, Tal R, Margot Sanders, Aurel Schmidt, Kura Shomali, Jamie Shovlin, Zak Smith, Yuken Teruya, Storm Tharp, Tom Thayer, Ann Toebbe, Rebecca Turner, Jannis Varelas, Ben Washington, Paul Westcombe, Aaron Wexler, Lisa Wilkens, Silke Schatz.
“Paper” exhibition is at the Saatchi Gallery, Sloane Square, London, from 18th June until 29th September 2013.