Gagosian is pleased to present the first solo exhibition of the acclaimed young British painter Jenny Saville. Since first appearing on the London art scene in 1994 as the star of the Saatchi Gallery’s Young British Artists III and Sensation exhibitions, Saville has been recognized as one of the most thought-provoking and technically accomplished talents of her generation.
In this long-awaited exhibition of her new work, two years in the making, the distinctive nature of Saville’s giant, fleshy nudes is both surprising and provocative; her virtuoso nudes are reminiscent of the old masters, yet employed to question societal obsession with an idealized, almost robotic, image of the female form. By portraying these “images of extreme humanness” that are so out of place in an anxious culture obsessed with eternal youth and beauty, Saville confronts the very essence of what it means to have an active mind in a decaying, dying body.
Characteristic of Saville’s work, her paint becomes flesh as it evokes the feel and touch of the body, its smell and material presence. Freed from the conventions of feminine delicacy, her gargantuan figures cascade across the canvas and into the viewer’s physical space. The vast images of corpulent bodies are deliberately ambiguous as the paintings impose themselves on the viewer and surround the body that is looking at them. The viewer cannot escape the implications of their physical being.
A self-described “scavenger of images,” Saville usually prefers to work from photographs rather than living models. In her studio she likes to be surrounded by images; her figures are usually composites of several bodies. It is interesting to note that Saville once worked in a plastic surgeon’s office in New York and frequently visits a London medical museum as member of a pathology group. She shares with Francis Bacon a fascination for collecting pictures found in old medical journals of bruises, scars, gunshot wounds, deformities, and traces of disease that leave inscriptions on a body over time, like a memory, or a mark on a canvas.
This exhibition comprises six new paintings, including a vast meshed body pile similar to Shift, one of the works in the Sensation show. It also includes a painting of Del LaGrace Volcano, a hermaphrodite and one of the first of Saville’s subjects who is not a woman.
A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany this exhibition.
From the Quarterly
Jenny Saville Ancestors
In this video, Jenny Saville speaks about Ancestors and her new works currently on view at Gagosian, West 21st Street, New York.
Jenny Saville and Dr. Simon Groom
Jenny Saville discusses the beginnings and evolutions of her painting practice with Dr. Simon Groom, Director of the Scottish National Gallery of Modern Art, Edinburgh. She speaks candidly on her endless passion for painting the figure, the beauty of struggle, motherhood, and the artists that have inspired her.
Jenny Saville on Willem de Kooning
In 2013, the exhibition Willem de Kooning: Ten Paintings, 1983–1985 explored the legendary artist’s late work. For the catalogue accompanying the presentation, Jenny Saville spoke on the gestures and elemental elegance of these paintings.
Diana Widmaier Picasso, curator of the exhibition Desire, reflects on the history of eroticism in art.
Jenny Saville: Erota
Richard Calvocoressi discusses the inspiration behind the artist’s new body of work.
Egon Schiele—Jenny Saville
Lauren Mahony previews the Kunsthaus Zürich exhibition, which paired the works of Jenny Saville and Egon Schiele together.
Extended through July 23, 2018
May 3–July 23, 2018
West 21st Street, New York
Extended through July 9, 2016
April 14–July 9, 2016
Davies Street, London
June 13–July 26, 2014
Britannia Street, London
September 15–October 22, 2011
980 Madison Avenue, New York