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Jenny Saville

April 15–May 15, 2010
Davies Street, London

Installation view  Artwork © Jenny Saville

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville

Works Exhibited

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing I (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2009–10 Pencil on paper, 89 ⅛ × 69 ½ inches (226.3 × 176.5 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing I (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2009–10

Pencil on paper, 89 ⅛ × 69 ½ inches (226.3 × 176.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing II (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2009–10 Pencil on paper, framed: 104 ½ × 69 ½ inches (265.5 × 176.5 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing II (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2009–10

Pencil on paper, framed: 104 ½ × 69 ½ inches (265.5 × 176.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing III (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2009–10 Pencil on paper, 89 ⅛ × 69 ½ inches (226.3 × 176.5 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing III (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2009–10

Pencil on paper, 89 ⅛ × 69 ½ inches (226.3 × 176.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing IV (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2010 Pencil on paper, 89 ¼ × 69 ⅝ inches (226.8 × 176.8 cm)© Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville, Reproduction drawing IV (after the Leonardo cartoon), 2010

Pencil on paper, 89 ¼ × 69 ⅝ inches (226.8 × 176.8 cm)
© Jenny Saville

About

Bodies fascinate me. I find having the framework of a body essential. Having flesh as a central subject, I can channel a lot of ideas.
—Jenny Saville

Gagosian is pleased to present three recent works on paper by Jenny Saville.

Known for her outsized oil paintings of traumatic female bodies, this is Saville’s first exhibition devoted exclusively to drawing. In these large and detailed studies, she articulates specific aspects of her subject, giving powerful graphic life to the anatomical details and expressive movements that animate and underpin her visceral paintings.

Saville has chosen subjects—including herself—whose bodies she believes to represent the contemporary era. Rather than working from live studio models, she slowly renders form tangible in oil paint. Bodily orifices fascinate her, as is evident in her depictions of bulging and twisting bodies, imbued with the qualities of mortified flesh. She strives to make visible in viscous passages of paint the precarious states of the human body.

Each of the three drawings in this exhibition portrays the intimate relationship between mother and child, directly inspired by Renaissance nativity portraits, in particular Leonardo da Vinci’s cartoon The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and John the Baptist (National Gallery, London) an atypical scene in which the Virgin contends with a lively Christ-child. The life-size portraits that she entitles “reproduction”—a pun that conjoins the act of artistic emulation with the feat of motherhood—render the two figures in symbiotic flux. In Reproduction Drawing I and III (after the Leonardo cartoon) multiple impressions of mother and child, drawn, erased and superimposed, record the mother’s patient efforts to hold the wriggling infant. Their relationship is expressed as a dynamic tangle of superimposed limbs and frenetic postures rather than a static composition of iconographic order. In Reproduction Drawing II (after the Leonardo cartoon), the mother grips the ankle of the baby who, from the ghostly lines of previous action recorded on the paper, has come to rest atop her heavily pregnant belly. And, as if in a reversal of the adult-child relationship, she appears absorbed in the process while he looks beyond her, fixing the viewer with his gaze.

Jenny Saville, Pietà I, 2019–21, charcoal and pastel on canvas

Jenny Saville: A cyclical rhythm of emergent forms

An exhibition curated by Sergio Risaliti, director of the Museo Novecento, Florence, pairs artworks by Jenny Saville with artists of the Italian Renaissance. On view across that city at the Museo Novecento, the Museo di Palazzo Vecchio, the Museo dell’Opera del Duomo, the Museo degli Innocenti, and the Museo di Casa Buonarroti through February 20, 2022, the presentation features paintings and drawings by Saville from the 1990s through to work made especially for the occasion. Here, Risaliti reflects on the resonances and reverberations brought about by these pairings.

A Jenny Saville painting titled Self-Portrait (after Rembrandt), oil on paper

Jenny Saville: Painting the Self

Jenny Saville speaks with Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, about her latest self-portrait, her studio practice, and the historical painters to whom she continually returns.

Jenny Saville’s Prism (2020) on the cover of Gagosian Quarterly magazine.

Now available
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2020

The Winter 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Jenny Saville’s Prism (2020) on its cover.

Jenny Saville, Study for Pentimenti I, 2011, graphite and pastel on paper.

Shortlist
Five Preoccupations: Jenny Saville

Jenny Saville shares a selection of the books, films, and more that have been her companions in the quiet of the shutdowns in recent months and as she looks ahead to a new exhibition next year.

Jenny Saville in her studio.

In Conversation
Jenny Saville and Nicholas Cullinan

Jenny Saville speaks with Nicholas Cullinan, the director of the National Portrait Gallery, London, from her studio. They discuss portraiture, her latest work, and her art historical influences, as well as the shifting nature of perception in the age of digital communication.

Left: Sally Mann, Self-Portrait, 1974; right: Jenny Saville in her studio, c. 1990s.

In Conversation
Sally Mann and Jenny Saville

The two artists discuss being drawn to difficult subjects, the effects of motherhood on their practice, embracing chance, and their shared adoration of Cy Twombly.

News

Photo: courtesy the artist

Artist Spotlight

Jenny Saville

July 22–28, 2020

In her depictions of the human form, Jenny Saville transcends the boundaries of both classical figuration and modern abstraction. Oil paint, applied in heavy layers, becomes as visceral as flesh itself, each painted mark maintaining a supple, mobile life of its own. As Saville pushes, smears, and scrapes the pigment over her large-scale canvases, the distinctions between living, breathing bodies and their painted representations begin to collapse.

Photo: courtesy the artist