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?
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.
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.
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 runs from the 31 March to 6 September 2017. Entry is free.
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
Daily: 10.00 – 18:00
For more art in London, check out Lockwood Kipling at the V and A