Menu Skip to content

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.

From the Quarterly