New Order: British Art Today

© Greta Alfaro
Greta Alfaro, 'In Ictu Oculi', 2009
Saatchi Gallery , Chelsea Tuesday May 7 2013 10:00 - 18:00

Charles Saatchi is at it again. The prolific collector presents another sweeping survey at his King’s Road repository, this time of UK artists in the early stages of their careers. Considering his reputation for launching many a Young British Artist over the years, I was expecting the top floor to be bursting with vitality and challenging imagery. Instead, I found an uninspiring, box-ticking display of works by mostly commercially conscious artists.

Despite being grouped largely by media, the disparities between the 17 artists’s practices supposedly reflects Britain’s current discordant state. Unfortunately, it also adds up to a jarring experience for the viewer.

As many of the stand-out pieces have been in Saatchi’s possession for some time, one wonders whether they can be true indicators of the present artistic climate. Greta Alfaro’s film ‘In Ictu Oculi’, from 2009 remains an intense ten minutes of Greek myth-infused madness in which a flock of vultures, rather than harpies, descend upon an outdoor feast, leaving devastation in their wake. The industrial tools of James Capper give presence to his drawings, while Dominic from Luton’s satirical photos, of the artist (real name Dominic Allan) dressed up as Maggie in the toilets of a council estate, raise a much-needed laugh.

Any single collector’s perspective (regardless of the number of art advisors) will always be one-sided. Saatchi’s attempt to impose his new order on these younger artists is ultimately to their detriment, not his.

Freire Barnes

Venue name: Saatchi Gallery
Address: Duke of York's HQ
King's Rd
Opening hours: 10am-6pm Mon-Sun
Transport: Tube: Sloane Square
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