The Paper Exhibition is the name of the stunning installation at the Saatchi Gallery that took place in Summer 2013, and as with 2012’s Korean Eye it was one of the must see art installations in London. As the name suggests its focus was on one medium alone; paper, for anyone not quite awake enough to join the dots, and it’s genuinely impressive in terms of variety, despite its relatively narrow material confines.
The exhibition opened on the 18th of June 2013 an it ran for the majority of the rest the year, closing on the 3rd November 2013. It featured a significant body of works from 44 modern day artists created over the last ten years, with a lot of material produced very recently. It’s a great showcase for some of the best new artwork on the medium of paper, reiterating the material’s intrinsic association with art throughout history.
There was a very modern minimalism to the construct of the exhibition within the Saatchi Gallery, but that’s an inevitability with the sub-zero curating skills of Rebecca Wilson. Where the Royal Academy of Arts‘ walls are crammed with entrants in their Summer Exhibition, the Saatchi Gallery curators chose more selectively, leaving a lot of room between artworks. Both hanging styles have their own merit, but with an exhibition titled Paper you’ve got to include a good level of white space and the Saatchi Gallery pulls it off perfectly.
Artwork ranged from paper sculpture to carvings, sketches, paintings, cut work, photography, hanging model installations and a whole lot more. The variety of art shows the endless possibilities of the material and adds to the variety of experience a visit to the exhibition provides.
There were a lot of stand-out artworks that formed the exhibition, starting out with one of the first we saw as we entered, Jessica Jackson Huchins’ Couch For A Long Time (2009) – see picture above. It cushions idling pots on a newspaper cutting covered sofa with references to the instant age of news, the laziness of indifference, the volume of press and the self preservation of society.
Other notable works include Silke Schatz’s Mothership (2003) with the themes of new life and evolution seemingly treated as alien constructs, Tom Thayer’s Congregation (2010) linking religious gatherings with marionettes, Japanese artist Yuken Teruya’s Paper Bags series (2005) charting the course of paper from wood to branded bag, and Han Feng’s Floating City (2008), which asks the viewer to consider the city scape as the idea instead of just the physical construction that it has eventually become.
The biggest and most impressive inclusion in the Gallery’s Paper Exhibition is Marcelo Jácome’s Planos-Pipas (2013), which means ‘kite planes’ in the artist’s native language Portuguese. It’s room size superstructure contains an aesthetic that implies individual multicoloured airborne objects moving together like a flock of starlings or a kite show. See images below.
The exhibition was a breathtaking and memorable experience that left us with many things to think about and a lot more beauty in our minds eye. It was well worth taking the time to explore it, get up close and see into the detail of the blank pages of paper.
Paper exhibition, Saatchi Gallery review: 5/5
For anyone that missed the exhibition itself, below are a few of the the shots we fired off while visiting the Paper exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery: