African And Latin American Art In Pangaea At Saatchi Gallery

Recent shows at the Saatchi gallery have been met with mixed receptions, so the gallery has fallen back on a stalwart of the Saatchi stable and focussed on emerging artists from a specific region of the world — in this case Latin America and Africa. These two parts of the world were bound together as part of the super continent Pangaea many millions of years ago, hence the title of the exhibition. But this title serves more as a device to bring these two sets of artists together and the similarities between the two continents ends there.

The exhibition opens with a high impact installation by Rafael Gomezbarros in which a swarm of giant ants covers the walls. Many are amassed in one corner of the gallery as if that’s where they are emerging from. It’s a creepy sight and is also a representation of the number of Colombians who have been displaced due to armed conflict over the last 50 years.

The exhibition then follows a chequered path as we encounter many artists who feel derivative of European artists such as Picasso, Lichtenstein and Caulfield. However, Fredy Alzate’s sphere of bricks does a great job of summing up sprawling urban development by displaying a structure that has collapsed in on itself into a ball.

Upstairs features some of the better artists in this exhibition with one excellent gallery containing Dillon Marsh’s photography of the humanoid shapes of weaver bird nests, Mario Marcilau’s intimate portraits and David Koloane’s terrifying depiction of urban life, where yellow eyed dogs scavenge in the night.

Though this exhibition may not be a full return to form, it’s a big improvement on the last few shows and is the gallery’s strongest exhibition since ‘Out of Focus’ two years ago.

Pangaea is on at Saatchi Gallery, King’s Road, SW3 4RY until 2 November. Admission is free. Also still on at Saatchi gallery are the emerging artists in New Order II.

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