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Jenny Saville

Elpis

November 12–December 22, 2020
980 Madison Avenue, New York

Installation Views

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Installation view

Artwork © Jenny Saville. Photo: Rob McKeever

Works Exhibited

Jenny Saville, Meridian, 2019–20 Oil on canvas, 59 ⅛ × 47 ¼ inches (150 × 120 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Meridian, 2019–20

Oil on canvas, 59 ⅛ × 47 ¼ inches (150 × 120 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Second Nature, 2020 Oil on linen, 90 ⅝ × 82 ¾ inches (230 × 210 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Second Nature, 2020

Oil on linen, 90 ⅝ × 82 ¾ inches (230 × 210 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Cascade, 2020 Oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Cascade, 2020

Oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Virtual, 2020 Oil on canvas, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Virtual, 2020

Oil on canvas, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Chasah, 2020 Oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Chasah, 2020

Oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Lethe, 2020 Oil on canvas, 59 ⅛ × 47 ¼ inches (150 × 120 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Lethe, 2020

Oil on canvas, 59 ⅛ × 47 ¼ inches (150 × 120 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Requiem (Akhmatova), 2020 Acrylic and oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Requiem (Akhmatova), 2020

Acrylic and oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Prism, 2020 Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Prism, 2020

Pastel and charcoal on canvas, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Volta, 2020 Oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Volta, 2020

Oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Arcadia, 2020 Acrylic and oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Arcadia, 2020

Acrylic and oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Rupture, 2020 Acrylic and oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Rupture, 2020

Acrylic and oil on linen, 78 ¾ × 63 inches (200 × 160 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Elpis, 2020 Oil on canvas, in 3 parts, overall: 59 ⅛ × 141 ¾ inches (150 × 360 cm)© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

Jenny Saville, Elpis, 2020

Oil on canvas, in 3 parts, overall: 59 ⅛ × 141 ¾ inches (150 × 360 cm)
© Jenny Saville. Photo: Prudence Cuming Associates

About

Only Elpis [Hope] was left within her unbreakable house,
she remained under the lip of the jar, and did not
fly away. Before [she could], Pandora replaced the
lid of the jar. This was the will of aegis-bearing
Zeus the Cloudgatherer.
—Hesiod, Works and Days

Gagosian is pleased to present Elpis, an exhibition of new paintings by Jenny Saville. This exhibition marks the reopening of the gallery at 980 Madison Avenue following the pandemic-related shutdown in March.

Saville’s monumental portraits explore the human body and its fascinating aesthetic potential. Her bold and sensuous impressions of surface, line, and mass oscillate between rational and irrational forms, capturing a unique kind of realism specific to the twenty-first century. Titled after the ancient Greek personification of hope left behind at the bottom of Pandora’s box—a spirit traditionally associated with the burdens of human suffering, rather than positivity—the paintings in Elpis are grounded in tangible realities while reaching toward their mythological dimensions.

Though resolutely of its time, Saville’s art speaks to a profound reckoning with the primordial lineage of humanity. The ancient world comprises one of her most enduring sources of inspiration. In the past, she has presented the human figure as classical sculpture, melding marble and flesh through a complex layering of body parts and transhistorical artistic tributes. In the massive canvases presented at her 2014 solo exhibition Oxyrhynchus at Gagosian, Britannia Street, London, Saville intertwined palimpsestic silhouettes and fleshly forms, alluding to the trove of documents and literature that lay dormant in the famed titular Egyptian archeological site for millennia.

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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, 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.

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.