In spite of predictions to the contrary, the paperless world has yet to be realised. This is nowhere more apparent than the at the Saatchi Gallery’s latest exhibition, Paper, which opens today.
In this exhibition, paper is presented in many forms, from more traditional drawings and collage, to large sculptural forms mimicking poured concrete, a swirling, gyrating conglomeration of paper kites and a suspended, floating cityscape. Paper is a reflection on the world manifested through paper, an everyday object often mindlessly crumpled and discarded.
The highly detailed yet gigantic ink drawings of Dawn Clements open the tour of this paper world, evoking the interiors of rooms complete with packed library bookshelves, armchairs and fireplaces, to a collage of an outdoor terrace and garden. Her work, Untitled (Colour Kitchen) provides a glimpse into an interior of times past with its floral wallpaper, drawings of framed photographs and, incongruously, a nuclear power station, which provides a jarring note in this otherwise tranquil and nostalgic scene.
Paper is politicized, with the typographical explosions of Dominic McGill, whose drawings utilise texts drawn from sources as diverse as Karl Marx and Christian theology. Yuken Teruya’s shadow-box sculptures of trees inside paper shopping bags are a clear illustration of rampant consumerism, yet a consumerism in reverse, with the trees seemingly growing from the paper substance of the bags themselves. Zak Smith’s Girls in the Naked Girl Business: Mandy Morbid (II), with their comic-strip frankness, are intimate portraits of pornographic artists, while Ann Toebe’s two-dimensional room interiors resemble doll’s houses or board games, commenting on gender roles and definitions.
Paper is also surreal and transformative, as in Rebecca Turner’s Dumbstruck, a paper mache boulder seeming to roll up the gallery wall. The Daily Mail is transformed into baroque, funereal flower arrangements by Jodie Carey, and returned to tree form in Miler Lagos’ work, Fragmentos del Tiempo.
The architectural and sculptural properties of paper are also not neglected. Rachel Adam’s series of crumpled paper forms, mounted on marble pedestals, mimic the properties of bronze, stone and poured concrete, and an entire gallery space is overtaken by the vibrant flow of a twisting river of colourful paper kites.
Through this exhibition, paper, a seemingly simple, disposable material, clearly provides a complex, multi-faceted commentary on the world.
Paper runs at the Saatchi Gallery from 18 June to 29 September. Free Admission.
By Sarah Stewart