Saatchi Gallery vs. Australian Provincialism

Here is a link to a video tour of of the new sculpture exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London, titled, The Shape of Things to Come. Living in Melbourne, I haven't seen the show, but the digital tour was pretty good, although the camera does sweep rather swiftly over some work, much to my frustration. I actually really enjoyed the soundtrack, despite it sounding a little like Phillip Glass after four or five espressos. This is another link which lists the artists and gives some idea about their practice.

All in all, this show presents a reason why it can be frustrating to live in Australia, and to feel so distant from these kind of contemporary exhibitions. So often what is exhibited here at major institutions and considered 'contemporary' is already a decade or more old. Although the internet provides a seemingly bottomless and infinitely useful resource in terms of images of up-to-date international art, to actually experience it first hand - especially spatially based work such as this - is essential to really getting toward an understanding of the artists intention.

Which is not to say that Australian artists are behind the times. I've seen a no shortage of really interesting work in artist-run spaces and smaller commercial galleries which would easily have stood up to the work in this Saatchi show [some of it is actually pretty dry and/or dull], but these spaces are not frequented by the 'general public' in the way major, state-funded spaces are. And, admittedly, much of the work in The Shape of Things to Come tends towards the spectacular, or grandiose, but I think that is in part a symptom of both the Saatchi Gallery and the broader cultural zeitgeist, which seems to be grasping at something sublime and unknown...

Phew. Not sure what just happened, but I think I just reverted to art-school-essay mode.
Exscuse me. I hope you like the video.

ps. If you look carefully, there is a work in this exhibition which I've shown on this blog on an earlier occasion; from a photograph I took in Hoxton Square when I was in London around this time last year.

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