”Is this a piece of art?” A lady murmured as she entered the room of oil that is Richard Wilson’s 20:50.
This is probably an all-time winner of the Overheard at the Saatchi Gallery category.
Despite the questionable contents of the gallery itself, the Saatchi strikes me as a legit exhibition space of a converted 3-storied mansion. The rooms are bright and airy; it even comes with a grand walkway and corridors.
But there is one problem: they are just a little bit too bright.
The artworks on display are clammed in a room that reminds me of dried goods illuminated by fluorescent lightboxes in your typical fish market in Hong Kong. The light is not flattering at all – it exposes every detail of, say, David Altmejd’s sculpture depicting an orgy. You are forced to look at it. There is no running away from this textbook white cube.
Maybe this forced-to-lookness is a good thing. The aforementioned lady soon noticed the perfectly smooth, black surface of the room and seemed to quite enjoy her new discovery: “This is amazing!”
I walked out of the gallery and sat by the picture-perfect lawn recovering from a slight headache induced by the bright lights. Of course we all enjoy a little bit of an “aha” moment in galleries such as this. I just wished it was a little less bright should it actually become Museum of Contemporary Art for London one day.
The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture at Saatchi Gallery, until Oct 16th 2011