From Selfie To Self Expression
I was intrigued by the name of the exhibition before I even visited, we can read a lot into selfies if we wish, or we can take them at face value. There's a beautiful power in taking a photograph of ourselves that we share to the world, this is who we are and this is how we want to be perceived. We're giving you the best angle because we believe in our self worth.
Many of the artworks in the show are displayed on large screens, the exhibition is sponsored by Huawei so that's not a surprise. In the first gallery the viewer is introduced to historical self portraits, from Frida Kahlo to Van Gogh, the large mobile phone screens recycling through images I remember from art history. What is clever is these large screens are hooked up to smaller, phone size screens, with the image and a heart, reminiscent of instagram, for the viewer to 'like'. It's an innovative way of showing artworks, the nod to instagram as not just a tool for a portfolio but also as a way of gaining instant feedback. We can relate this display technique to Richard Prince, too. There are layers at work here that demonstrate the direction exhibitions could be going in. It's exciting.
The ground floor of 'From Selfie To Self Expression' juxtaposes selfies we know and how artists have taken the selfie to a level of self portraiture. Kim K is reflected by Amalia Ulman. It's life into art and back again. The viewer sees images that, like Andy Worhol, have become icons of a generation that has the ability to capture the moment immediately.
Upstairs there are original works, rather than replications on screens. It's here the viewer is confronted by Gavin Turk's Pop, the wax-work figure of Turk as Sid Vicious posing as Worhol's Elvis Presley. (I feed into you, you feed into me). We see the many faces of Cindy Shreman, and in another room, new works by emerging artists tackling the idea of self portraiture in new ways, including Alma Haser and Hannah Starkey who encourages woman to take control of the gaze that is so often turned to them, and express themselves how they wish to be seen.
From Selfie To Self Expression is open until 30th May 2017 at the Saatchi Gallery, entry is free.