Charles Saatchi has a reputation for finding the ‘next big thing’ in art, so when the Saatchi Gallery announced its New Order of British artists last year there was a high degree of anticipation. Unfortunately the first exhibition was generally panned by critics, in fact we were one of the few publications that liked it.
The Saatchi gallery has now launched a second coming of new British artists as a follow up to the previous exhibition. Upon entering this exhibition on the top floor, it’s immediately evident that this set of artists is very different to the last — the works are much more subtle and understated with a greater reliance on more traditional media.
Consequently, this exhibition feels bland and uninspired compared to its predecessor. Many of the works don’t offer anything we haven’t seen before, although a few have more to offer.
Sarah Dwyer’s abstract painting is a swirling mass of intensity while Virgile Ittah’s melting bodies lie in unnatural positions creating a sense of discomfiture. Kate Hawkins plays with our perception of art by using creative stands that are more visually appealing than the works they support.
The highlight is Hannah Perry’s video work, in which two screens play scenes that might seem pedestrian at first. Stand in the right position, however, and one screen can be seen directly and the other through a plastic sheet. The sheet distorts the image so viewers can watch the same video as both a representational and an abstract set of moving images.
Only a handful of artists stand out in this exhibition, which is disappointing considering how much we enjoyed the previous incarnation of New Order.