Selfie to Self Expression: my trip to the Saatchi Gallery

Last Monday, after a last-minute invitation, I journeyed up to London to spend the day with my mum. London is a good meeting point for us, as it’s about an hour on the train for both of us – and there’s always so much to do!

That being said, we weren’t entirely sure what, exactly, we were going to do that day, only that we were going to have lunch. It was only as I was waiting at Brighton station that she messaged me a link to an article about the current exhibition at the Saatchi gallery – an exhibition based on selfies and self-portraits, ‘Selfie to Self Expression’. She and I share a love for art in all its forms (mostly!), and it seemed right up our street, so after a quick lunch at Côte Brasserie, we headed to the gallery.

My only regret is that I didn’t get too many photos…

The first two rooms were filled with digital picture frames, and beside them were smartphones, displaying an ‘Instagram’ page where you could ‘like’ the portraits on the big screens. Among the self-portraits featured were van Gogh, Kahlo, Velazquez and Rembrandt. I should add that the atmosphere in this exhibition was very relaxed – non-flash photography was allowed, and everyone seemed immersed in the art, and taking their own selfies. There are so many exhibitions which are quite uptight – all security and hushed voices, but this one was nothing like that at all.

The next rooms, I can’t remember the order specifically, but they worked with moving image and manipulated photographs. It was bizarre, but very enjoyable! People were happy to wait their turn to ‘play’ with the art, it was lovely.

Other artists featured in the exhibition were Tracey Emin and Andy Warhol. I unfortunately can’t recall the name of Emin’s photo collection of her body, but I adored it.

There was a room which contained a mosaic of what looked like youtube videos, projected onto the surrounding walls, and another, featuring portraits of celebrity selfies – or celebrities in the process of taking selfies!

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Perhaps the highlight of the exhibition, though, was a room containing interactive and optical illusionist art. Everybody loved the ones which made it look as though your eyes were glowing! Unfortunately, I’ve not got a decent video (and I don’t know how to upload those onto WordPress anyway), but rest assured that it was brilliant. From what I can recall, that room also contained the works of some international competition winners – notably, was a photograph taken by a Belgian woman, a selfie taken in a compact mirror.

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Additionally, although not part of the main exhibition, one of the rooms displayed works by upcoming new artists. There were a range of styles, and it’s well worth a look if you happen to be in the gallery. We went on Easter Monday, so it wasn’t too busy (although it was getting to be, just as we left). I imagine that if you were to go at the weekend, it would be a completely different story. The exhibition finishes on May 30th, 2017, and if it wasn’t already obvious, I’d highly recommend a visit if you happen to be in London.

Oh, and it was all free!

I’m going to be at university every day from Monday onwards, and I’m not looking forward to it too much. I made sure that I made the most of the time I had off. I’m very much looking forward to the summer already…

I hope you all had a good break!