I WAS lucky enough to be offered a ticket to a preview of an exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery through my work and since it was #90 on the London Top 100 list, I couldn’t resist saying yes. A couple of work mates and I made our way down to the famous gallery in Sloane Square after work and felt very VIP when we had to wait in a queue and say ‘my name is on the list’.
After stepping inside the doors to the gallery it wasn’t long before we were given a glass of champagne and directions into the first gallery. Inside here at the moment is the Out of Focus Photography exhibition which has just gone on display and it was a great way to start an evening’s viewing. The images captured portraits in an individual and interesting way. From there we wandered around the ground floor galleries checking out colour saturated landscapes and double exposures before stumbling on my favourites of the whole gallery. There are three photographs that are collages of three amazing cities — Tokyo, Paris and New York. I stood there gazing for ages picking out each iconic landmark and placing the puzzle together.
It wasn’t long before we were all asked to go upstairs to Gallery 14 where they would announce the winner of the Google Photography Prize — the exhibition we were invited to see. Google sponsored a competition that over 20,000 student photographers entered and the ten finalists are exhibited at Saatchi. We managed to wander around the gallery before the announcement and check out some great photographs. Some I liked more than others with several telling a series of stories or reporting on events such as the riots in Norway, however for an untrained art mind there was a few that I just didn’t ‘get’. The winner was very deserving and it was amazing to see what students can do — imagine how good they will be when they are professionals!
From there we continued to wander to view some more amazing, interesting and sometimes bizarre photography and artwork. The gallery itself provides a perfect blank canvas for all displays with high ceilings, airy white walls and light flooring meaning that the rooms don’t feel crowded and there is plenty of space to take in the work from different angles and distances.
As we were wandering I bumped into a workmate who said ‘have you seen the basement? You totally have to go’. Even though this sounded quite ominous of course we couldn’t resist and went down there almost immediately. The basement is home to the Richard Wilson’s 20:50 installation which to summarize — is a whole bunch of oil in a room. The first thing that hits you is the smell and when you walk onto the platform you are instantly mesmerised. The black oil so still that it reflects every corner and crevice of the room. It’s creepy to see so much liquid sit so still however it is also calming at the same time — that is if you can resist the urge to throw something in there. We asked one of the attendants how much was in there and he said that the oil only sat a few inches deep. That surprised me as it seemed that something so still must be so deep.
My VIP night soon came to an end as before I knew it, it was closing time. I was glad to get the opportunity to check out such a great gallery for an awesome event however I think I would have loved the Saatchi Gallery just as much minus the champagne!
Have you been to London’s Saatchi Gallery? What is your favourite cultural experience in the English capital? Tell us below: