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The Black Mirror exhibition currently at Saatchi Gallery features the work of 26 contemporary artists who have united in scrutinizing the world we live in and the way in which our obsessions exacerbate societal anxieties.
Using collage, caricatures, photography and installation, the exhibition explores art’s role in social satire, commenting on the chaotic nature of modern-day politics. As you navigate through the exhibition, you become immersed in each artist’s interpretation of modern life and the perils that we create for ourselves.
In the first gallery, the absurdity of contemporary social interactions is captured by Anne Speier’s digitally warped scraps of real-life photographs and paintings, whilst James Howard’s poster art in the second gallery manipulates digital material to intertwine juxtaposing concepts, exposing the contrasting aspects of our lives.
The second gallery also features Valerie Hegarty’s work, which uses various techniques such as papier-mâché to deform seemingly normal objects to highlight themes such as colonization and environmental degradation, exposing repressed histories over time. As you enter the fourth gallery, your attention is instantly grabbed by Steve Bishop’s caricatures, made up of both taxidermy and a concrete bottle. Inspired by Christian Dior’s figurative perfume bottles, his work creates the illusion of the two entities melding together and overlapping.
Also in the fourth gallery, Justin Craun’s eye-catching work uses vivid colours and layering techniques to accentuate how people internalise fantasy, encompassing both the abstract world of the individual and that of society as a whole.
The sixth gallery is filled with collages by John Stezaker that alter reality. He makes relatively small changes to the portraits in question, arguably done so in a somewhat passive manner, but alters the images enough to significantly alter their reception, producing an incredibly interesting result. The gallery also hosts a shockingly lifelike doll by Wendy Mayer, used to convey the way in which we can respond to a false, inanimate reality.
An installation named “Penumbra: Textured Shadow, Colour Light” by artist, Rashid Khalifa, currently occupies the top floor on the gallery. Inspired by Middle Eastern Architecture, this body of work mirrors the wooden latticework used to enclose oriel windows known as Mashrabiya, which ensures privacy and protection from the sun whilst allowing a breeze to pass through.
Khalifa has created colourful lattices, suspended architectural mobiles and a stunning gridlocked maze, all of which highlight the interplay between material, colour, light and shadow. As you move around the exhibition, this interaction alters, emphasising the dynamic relation between opposing forces, creating a striking illusionary effect.
We cannot recommend the exhibitions more highly.