The Saatchi Gallery featured a slew of artists from around the world who we were introduced to for the first time. The main exhibit running during our visit was titled “Known Unknown”, aptly reflecting Saatchi’s main goal for his gallery. It showcased 17 diverse and eclectic international artists who are mostly unknown in the mainstream art world, but are admired and considered up and coming by their contemporaries. We enjoyed and admired many of these works, but wish that they had been curated with explanation of what we were looking at. Instead there was only the name of the artist and work as well as the materials used. Even the descriptions found on the gallery's website were delivered in "artspeak", the practice of describing art pieces with high-brow, important sounding art jargon that is usually unintelligible to the casual viewer. If Saatchi's goal is really to bring art to the masses, then the descriptions of the pieces should have been presented next to the works and in a manner that would be understandable by the layman.
My favourite item from the Saatchi Shop was the “Lenticular Bookmark” (also available as a ruler) which features a row of figures each in midst of performing an activity such as jumping rope, bouncing a ball, riding a unicycle or spinning a hula hoop. As you rotate the bookmark forwards or backwards, the figures begin to move. I bought one of these bookmarks as a souvenir, but wished I had bought a couple more to give as gifts. Our Contemporary Art Tour continues with a visit to the Tate Modern Gallery, which is even larger and more comprehensive than the Saatchi Gallery. Since this blog has run on long enough and there is so much to describe about the Tate Modern, I will leave that for the next blog.