I reached my destination. I paused and stood outside looking through the large glass front that exposed the small and immaculate space. There in front of me was the work of Jenny Saville’s latest exhibition: Erota. Having been an admirer of Saville’s work for several years I always look for opportunities to see it in the flesh for each work holds new expressions and experiences.
I entered the space; it was white from floor to ceiling, mimicking the task of a canvas. Saville’s works focus on the depiction of the human body and represent the body in intertwining and hybrid forms. The immediate space held four of Saville’s canvases. Though whilst her style is usually big and unavoidable, using physical markings to portray her fleshy and challenging figures, the works in this exhibition embodied a softer expression. The medium used was not heavy paint but light charcoal, leaving her canvases with beautiful traces and scars of the interconnecting nudes, which cause you loose site of where the body begins and ends.
I placed myself in front of the main wall and looked upon two of the canvases ‘Edd and Flow’, 2015 and ‘One out of two (symposium)’, 2016. From afar my eyes danced around the scribbles on the canvas trying to jigsaw together the figure, or figures. Saville’s work portrays numerous moments and movements in one place, emitting a lively energy that can’t be ignored. The result is playful and almost childlike. The works play a game with you; every time you look back, they hint of new figures emerging in another pose.
The human body does not stay still, but is in a constant state of flow and progression. For me, this is what Saville has captured within her work.
Words by Vanessa Lewis-Jones
Ebb and Flow, 2015 Oil stain, pastel and charcoal on canvas Framed: 68 1/2 x 107 7/8 x 3 15/16 inches 174 x 274 x 10 cm Unframed: 63 x 102 3/8 inches 160 x 260 cm
© Jenny Saville. Courtesy the ar st and Gagosian Gallery. Photo: Mike Bruce
One out of two (symposium), 2016 Charcoal and pastel on canvas Framed: 65 3/8 x 94 1/8 x 3 15/16 in 166 x 239 x 10 cm Unframed: 59 13/16 x 88 9/16 x 1 1/4 inches 152 x 225 x 3.2 cm
© Jenny Saville. Photo © Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford.
Installation on views of Jenny Saville’s exhibition on EROTA at Gagosian Gallery, Davies St.
© Jenny Saville. Installation on photography by Mike Bruce
Saville’s works will be on display at the Gagosian Gallery, London until 9th July 2016