urban75 blog

Out Of Focus: Photography exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, Chelsea

Yesterday we headed off to hoity-toity Chelsea to check out the ‘Out Of Focus: Photography’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery, on the Kings Road, Chelsea, south-west London.

Saachi’s King’s Road gallery is located in part of the old Duke of York’s Headquarters, a Grade II listed building completed in 1801.

After the site was sold to Cadogan Estates by the Ministry of Defence in 2000, the area has been renamed Duke of York Square with the Saatchi Gallery relocating there in 2008.

Opening on October 9, 2008, the space was described by the Observer as one of “the most beautiful art spaces in London“, and features 15 equally-proportioned exhibition spaces “as light, as high, and as beautifully proportioned as any in London”.

Although there’s a lot to hate about the Thatcher loving Saatchi’s, credit has to be given to them providing the only completely free-entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world. And it is a really lovely space.

That said, I found most of the exhibition hugely disappointing,  showing a seemingly random collection of 37 photographers/photo-artists.

With no unifying message or theme to the exhibition, the experience felt a little bit muddled and some of the work on display failed to move me in any way at all – and I normally soak up any kind of photography.

Taking a rest, first floor.

A big pixellated cat with clothes pegs.

I found the top floor to offer the most compelling collection of work – and this wasn’t part of the exhibition.

I loved Ana Tzarev’s painting and huge, glossy flower sculpture that begged to be touched (I resisted – just!).

I particularly liked the Google Student Photography competition too – in fact, I preferred much of the work there to what was on offer downstairs.

The basement contains Richard Wilson’s rightly acclaimed 20:50 installation, a cunning piece of work that deceives the senses:

Viewed from the entrance platform 20:50 appears as a holographic field: simultaneously a polished floor, infinite clear pool, an expansive and indefinable virtual space that clinically absorbs and mirrors the gallery architecture. The room is in fact entirely flooded in oil.  [Saachi]

More info:
Saachi Gallery
Duke of York’s HQ
King’s Road

10am-6pm, 7 days a week, last entry 5:30pm