The Londoness


Born in Paris.

Made in London.

Teller of London Tales.

Art Review: Selfies at the Saatchi

I wonder how Van Gogh, Kahlo and Rembrandt would feel about sharing an art gallery with Tracey Emin, Kim Kardashian, the Queen and a macaque monkey? For the next two months, they are in bed together in the Saatchi Gallery’s new exhibition: From Selfie to Self-Expression.

I admit that I walked into this with some cynicism. One million selfies are taken every day, and when I think of today’s bizarre form of self-portraiture, I think of pouts and of famille Kardashian. But as I wandered around this fun installation, I realised that love it or hate it, the selfie is becoming a modern art form, today’s quickie format for visual expression. If it was good enough for Rembrandt, then surely it’s good enough for me?

Hello me

The show is the first of its kind, and explores the history of the selfie from old masters such as Valazquez and Kahlo, to contemporary artists Gavin Turk and Christopher Baker. The exhibition includes interactive, digital artwork and lots of smartphones displaying a mix of old self-portraits and new selfies. It’s a big production, with the show taking over nine galleries and two floors at the Saatchi.

From Selfie to Self Expression, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, Art

LEFT: The first ever selfie taken by an animal. CENTRE: Space station astronaut Aki Hoshide takes the first ever astronaut selfie in space. RIGHT: Regarded as the first ever selfie, this was taken in 1920 in New York.

From Selfie to Self Expression, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, Art

The brilliant Alison Jackson does it again with her royal celebrity lookalikes.

From Selfie to Self Expression, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, Art

Chuck Close, Big Self-Portrait, 1967-68

From Selfie to Self Expression, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, Art

What’s not to like about this selfie? I’m guessing it will get more than 80 likes by the time the exhibition is over.

From Selfie to Self Expression, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, Art

LEFT: Joseph Ducreux, Self Portrait, 1793. RIGHT: Idris Khan’s Rembrandt…by Himself, 2006. The artist layered the eyes of all of Rembrandt’s self-portraits.

From Selfie to Self Expression, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, Art

ABOVE: Kahlo corner. She was the mistress of the selfie.  BELOW: Christopher Baker’s Hello World or How I Learned to Stop Listening and Love the Noise.

#Competition Time

As part of the show, the Saatchi Gallery held a #SaatchiSelfie competition allowing photographers and artists from around the world to submit their own selfies. The winner of the competition, Dawn Wooley, was announced on the 30 March.

Dawn Woolley, Selfie, Saatchi Gallery, #saatchiselfie

Dawn Woolley’s selfie The Substitute (holiday)  is the winner of the #SaatchiSelfie competition. It’s not a traditional selfie, but she uses a photographic replica of herself instead.

Strike a Pose

OK, I admit that the first thing I did when I got home was share a few selfies with my kids. Art or silliness? Let me know what you think.

From Selfie to Self Expression, Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea, Art

From Selfie to Self-Expression  runs from the 31 March to 30 May 2017. Entry is free.

Saatchi Gallery

The Saatchi Gallery was founded in 1985. Over the last five years, the gallery has hosted ten out of the top 15 most visited exhibitions in London.

Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London, SW3 4RY

Nearest tube: Sloane Square

Opening Times:

Daily: 10.00 – 18:00

For more art in London, check out Lockwood Kipling at the V and A

Born in Paris. Made in London. Teller of London Tales.

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