Jenny Saville - Territories

Jenny Saville, Hyphen, 1999, oil on canvas, 108 × 144 inches (274.3 × 365.8 cm)


Download Press Release PDF (56 Kb)

Reception for the artist Friday, October 1, 1999 6-8pm

Gagosian Gallery is pleased to announce the first solo exhibition of the acclaimed young British painter Jenny Saville. Since first appearing on the London art scene in 1994 as the star of the Saatchi Gallery's Young British Artists III and Sensation exhibitions, Saville has been recognized as one of the most thought provoking and technically accomplished talents of her generation.

In this long awaited exhibition of her new work, two years in the making, the distinctive nature of Saville's giant, fleshy nudes, is both surprising and provocative; virtuoso nudes, reminiscent of the old masters', yet employed to question societal obsession with an idealized, almost robotic, image of the female form. By portraying these "images of extreme humanness" that are so out of place in an anxious culture obsessed with eternal youth and beauty, Saville confronts the very essence of what it means to have an active mind in a decaying, dying body.

Characteristic of Saville's work, her paint becomes flesh as it evokes the feel and touch of the body, its smell and material presence. Her gargantuan figures are freed from the conventions of feminine delicacy. They cascade across the canvas and into the viewer's physical space. The vast images of corpulent bodies are deliberately ambiguous as the paintings impose themselves on the viewer and surround the body that is looking at them. The viewer can not escape the implications of their physical being.

Jenny Saville calls herself "a scavenger of images," she normally prefers to work from photographs rather than living models. In her studio she likes to be surrounded by images; her figures are usually composites of several bodies. It is interesting to note that Saville once worked in a plastic surgeon's office in New York and frequently visits a London medical museum as member of a pathology group. She shares with Francis Bacon a fascination for collecting pictures found in old medical journals of bruises, scars, gun shot wounds, pictures of deformities, and traces of disease which leave inscriptions on a body over time, like a memory, or a mark on a canvas.

This exhibition comprises six new paintings, including a vast meshed body pile similar to Shift, one of the works in the Sensation show. It also includes a painting of Del LaGrace Volcano, a hermaphrodite and one of the first of Saville's that is not of a woman.

A fully illustrated catalogue will accompany this exhibition.

For more information about the exhibition please call Gagosian Gallery.