Celebrating the multitude of art in China, the former Soviet Union, Taiwan, the UK and the USA, some 250 works in the Saatchi reflect the individuality and vibrancy of the 20th c. Pop Art movement.
Split into 6 themes, spread over different floor spaces and rooms, there was a real sense of an understanding of the culture of the time. Habitat; Advertising and Consumerism; Celebrity and Mass Media; Art History; Religion and Ideology; Sex and the Body - it seemed no element of society was left unrepresented!
Considering Pop Art is such an iconic contemporary movement with the works of Andy Warhol and Roy Lichtenstein, mass produced in every form of consumer goods and studied in schools, they have become the epitome of everyday culture. Typically when I think of Pop Art, I immediately imagine soup cans, comic strips, celebrity icons all repeated in a series of bold colours. Yet the exhibition displayed the diversity of the movement, examining Western art with its Eastern counterpart 'Sots Art'. From my overall experience at the exhibition, I felt it intriguing to see how the art from bipolar nations during the Cold War shared similarities; exploiting familiar imagery to connect with the viewer, generating influential movements paving the way for a new generations of artists.
On first view, Koon's piece seems it has been similarly composed to Damien Hirst's 'Natural History' collection, using a solution of formaldehyde to preserve the basketballs within the centre of the tank. Surprisingly, this is not the case. Using the laws of physics and chemistry - with the aide of physicist Richard P. Feynman, the basketballs are floating in the centre of nothing less than distilled water. Due to the nature of water as a fluid, the basketballs will slowly move around. Initially created with equal distance between each ball, over time they gradually move to sink to the bottom. No doubt if you were to visit them now, they would be in completely different positions, reflecting the inability as humans to control their constant state.
Just as impressive but in a completely different form, Xu Zhen's 'Made-In Company' mixed media canvases were particular works which captured my attention. Textile mixed media develops bold and textural compositions which Xu's application of embroidery and layers have achieved through the creation of overcrowded collages mapping society. Having incorporated elements of textiles into my own work, I can just imagine the attention to detail in stitching must have been incredibly time consuming! Leaving absolutely no negative space, the chaos created by the plethora of actions occurring in the scene, means there's always something new to discover - reminiscent of 'Where's Wally' books or those impossible puzzles you receive at Xmas!