Menu Skip to content

Jenny Saville

Oxyrhynchus

June 13–July 26, 2014
Britannia Street, London

Installation video

Installation video

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view © Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Installation view

© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Works Exhibited

Jenny Saville, Untitled, 2014 Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 66 ⅞ × 98 ⅜ inches (170 × 250 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, Untitled, 2014

Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 66 ⅞ × 98 ⅜ inches (170 × 250 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, In the realm of the Mothers III, 2014 Pastel, charcoal, and oil on canvas, 94 ½ × 144 ⅛ inches (240 × 366 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, In the realm of the Mothers III, 2014

Pastel, charcoal, and oil on canvas, 94 ½ × 144 ⅛ inches (240 × 366 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, Odalisque, 2012–14 Oil and charcoal on canvas, 85 ⅜ × 93 ⅛ inches (217 × 236.5 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo:​ Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, Odalisque, 2012–14

Oil and charcoal on canvas, 85 ⅜ × 93 ⅛ inches (217 × 236.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, In the realm of the Mothers I, 2012–14 Charcoal on canvas, 98 ⅜ × 130 ¾ × 2 inches (249.8 × 332.2 × 5 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, In the realm of the Mothers I, 2012–14

Charcoal on canvas, 98 ⅜ × 130 ¾ × 2 inches (249.8 × 332.2 × 5 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, Intertwine, 2011–14 Oil on canvas, 86 ⅜ × 114 ⅛ × 2 ½ inches (219.5 × 290 × 6.5 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

Jenny Saville, Intertwine, 2011–14

Oil on canvas, 86 ⅜ × 114 ⅛ × 2 ½ inches (219.5 × 290 × 6.5 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Mike Bruce

About

Gagosian is pleased to present the first-ever solo exhibition of Jenny Saville’s paintings in London.

Captivated by the endless aesthetic and formal possibilities of the materiality of the human body, Saville makes a highly sensuous and tactile impression of surface and mass in her monumental oil paintings. Subjects are imbued with a sculptural yet elusive dimensionality that verges on the abstract. In recent paintings, she renews her enduring figurative investigations by depicting bodies embracing and intertwined.

Several new works are inspired by the ancient Egyptian rubbish dump at Oxyrhynchus, one of the most important archeological sites ever discovered. Heaps of discarded documents and literature, incredibly preserved in the area’s dry climate, are now invaluable; fragments of ancient Greek texts such as Euclid’s Elements and the poems of Sappho are among the excavated papyri. Saville alludes to this history through a deep layering of paired subjects: faces, torsos, and limbs overlap with shadows and reflections, palimpsests of living bodies and ancestral apparitions. Silhouettes drawn in charcoal through the surfaces of oil paint underscore the motion of the central embracing figures, while evoking the timeless human process of sketching. These intermediate “studies” echo the shifting status of the unearthed papers—once discarded, now treasured.

Time is further compressed by Saville’s adaptation of various historical approaches to portraiture, including de Kooning’s fluid abstractions of the female figure, the almost combined couples of Picasso’s late paintings and Japanese shunga prints, and Titian’s placement of subjects within dramatic perspectival landscapes, exemplified by Nymph and Shepherd (c. 1570–75). Saville’s own figures merge ethereally with settings that have been loosely appropriated from photographs and evoke the backdrops of Renaissance paintings.

Read more

From the Quarterly