[Flesh] is all things. Ugly, beautiful, repulsive, compelling, anxious, neurotic, dead, alive.
Gagosian is pleased to present an exhibition of recent paintings and drawings by Jenny Saville, her first in New York since Migrants in 2003.
Fascinated by the endless aesthetic and formal possibilities that the materiality of the human body offers, Saville remits a highly sensuous and tactile impression of surface and mass in her monumental oil paintings. In the compelling Stare paintings she renders the contours and features of the face and the nuances of skin texture and color in strokes both bold and meticulous. Enlarging the facial features of her human subjects to a vast scale and portraying them in layer upon layer of paint, she imbues them with a sense of mass and weight that is almost sculptural and at times wholly abstract. Intense pinks, reds, and blues erupt through pale skin tones, disclosing the internal workings of the painting like the flesh and blood of a living organism.
Saville depicts the intimate relationship between mother and child in a series of life-size drawings directly inspired by Renaissance nativity portraits—in particular Leonardo da Vinci’s cartoon The Virgin and Child with St. Anne and John the Baptist, an atypical scene in which the Virgin contends with a lively Christ-child. In Study for Pentimenti IV (After Michelangelo’s Virgin and Child) (2011) and Componimento inculto (2011), the subjects—a pregnant woman and a young child—are recorded in symbiotic flux. Multiple impressions of each figure are drawn, erased, and superimposed again to create studies in simultaneity; the relationship between the subjects is expressed in a series of dynamic poses rather than in static compositions of iconographic order. Through these intricate studies, Saville gives powerful graphic life to the anatomical details and expressive movements that animate and underpin her visceral paintings.
Jenny Saville and Martin Gayford
Gagosian hosted a conversation between Jenny Saville and Martin Gayford, art critic and author, in conjunction with the exhibition Friends and Relations: Lucian Freud, Francis Bacon, Frank Auerbach, Michael Andrews at Gagosian, Grosvenor Hill, London. Gayford also spoke with the artist about her works in the exhibition Jenny Saville: Latent at Gagosian, rue de Castiglione, Paris.
Jenny Saville: Latent
In this video, Jenny Saville describes the evolution of her practice inside her latest exhibition, Latent, at Gagosian, Paris. She addresses the genesis of the title and reflects on the anatomy of a painting.
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.
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.
Gagosian Quarterly Winter 2020
The Winter 2020 issue of Gagosian Quarterly is now available, featuring Jenny Saville’s Prism (2020) on its cover.
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.
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