I went to the Saatchi gallery in Chelsea, London, on Monday.
The main attraction was Joel Lagerfeld’s ‘Little Black Jacket’ which is a collection of photographs of models and actors wearing the same Chanel black jacket highlighting the versatility of fashion and individuality. This exhibition took the whole first floor; what seemed like endless amounts of similar photographs were tiring on the eyes in the dim-lit room. The nature of the Saatchi Gallery as a private gallery means that limited information is given about the works, so I felt that Little Black Jacket was just an overwhelming statement of wealth and image.
Downstairs in the first gallery was Katy Grannan’s work of ‘Anonymous’ people on the street in San Francisco and Los Angeles. Again, without the contextual nature of the work, I felt that this work was a Diane Arbus come Richard Avedon copy. The sitters were largely strange looking: whether they walked with a drip, carried rabbits around or were un-flattered by their figure. I felt that the sitters were selected for their abnormalities over being anonymous people on the street. The plain white background isolated the subjects from social context which echoed Richard Avedon’s style. Whether this was Saatchi’s choice from the whole works to portray a different message to Gannon, possibly. Gannon said in an interview by the Daily Serving:
It’s important that the photograph describes a particular subject, but it also has to speak to something much larger, so that the viewer has the sense of a shared history; they’re portraits of all of us.
Yet I am inclined to disagree; may be I was being too objective with the work, but I could not relate to any of the pieces. Without a doubt the natural lighting in the portraits from the bright Californian sun gave a sense of opportunity and optimism, highlighting the brighter side of life with colour and a variety of personalities. However, personally for me, I just didn’t relate.