Champagne Life at Saatchi Gallery

The Saatchi Gallery is renowned for it’s contemporary, yet eccentric exhibitions, and Champagne Life was no exception. From Soheila Sokhanvari’s taxidermy Horse to Julia Watchel’s Warhol inspired work, we take you through a few our favourite (and slightly obscure) pieces from Champagne Life.

Champagne Life 2014 Julia Watchel

The title of this exhibition was taken from Julie Watchel’s 2014 piece, Champagne Life. Watchel’s style is heavily influenced by Warhol, but her focus is very much on today’s obsession with celebrity and popular culture. Previous works showcase celebrities such as Katy Perry and Miley Cyrus juxtaposed with vividly-drawn cartoon characters and a flurry of colour. Champagne Life displays a set of repeated imagery of Kanye West and Kim Kardashian paired with a painting of Minnie Mouse, bringing to attention their opposite places within the spectrum of today’s popular culture.

Phil ‘The Gift’ and Jay ‘Cuts’ 2013 Suzanne McClelland

Placed side by side, these two alluring and abstract pieces create a real sense of ambiguity. However, these two canvases are actually referring to the data-specific measurements of two body builders; Phil ‘The Gift’ and Jay ‘Cuts’. McClelland states “Much like the lives we lead now on the Internet... everything is text-based – the primary connection to our activity is maintained through data.” Her work combines scientific data with a highly contemporary style of painting - using form, colour and text to bring two polar opposites together. 

TLYA 14_Parrott Marie Angeletti

Marie Angeletti’s body of work resembles that of a phone or a computer; each piece begins with the title “TYLA_” as if they were part of hundreds of files stored in an online database. The pieces shown were unrelated, and spun together as if part of a random ‘google’ search. Images were juxtaposed in a collage-style, spliced, scanned, edited and remounted, to the point of which it’s original context was removed. TYLA 14_Parrott consisted of a Parrot mounted on mirror-like stainless steel, instantly leading you to question, well why? After some deep reflection, it becomes clear that Angeletti’s work creates a statement about the image culture of today and it’s throw-away nature.

Girl 2005 Phoebe Unwin

Unwin’s work has. In Girl, we see a side profile of a young girl, sat uncomfortably and projecting awkward body language. The painting clearly portrays the mood and tension of the young girl, explored through the use colour, in haunting tones of grey, blue and purple. Unwin’s work was almost isolated from the other artists; the colour palette almost restricts any interaction and projects an incredibly melancholy aura.

Moje Sabz 2011 Soheila Sokhanvari

Finally, lets talk about that taxidermy horse. Embedded in a blue fibreglass ‘blob’, this piece stood out as one of the most unusual throughout Champagne Life. Moje Sabz translated, means ‘the Green Movement’, which refers to the 2009 Iranian uprising. Sokhanvari, describes her work as “cultural collage between Eastern and Western philosophy”, and has thus used a horse in this installation due to its transferable symbolic nature. The horse was a symbol of status and power within Western art history, although maintaining an additional relationship with the working class. This perception of this piece will vary to those who view it, because the symbolic nature of a horse is so personal. A very interesting concept, which is aligned entirely with the nature of Saatchi Gallery; inviting the viewer to take a second look into what could initially be perceived as ‘just art’.