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.
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.
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.
Visions of the Self: Jenny Saville on Rembrandt
Jenny Saville reveals the process behind her new self-portrait, painted in response to Rembrandt’s masterpiece Self-Portrait with Two Circles.
Gagosian Quarterly Spring 2019
The Spring 2019 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Red Pot with Lute Player #2 by Jonas Wood on its cover.
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.
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