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Art Gallery of South Australia Set to Host Saatchi Gallery Major Survey in July
Jonathan Wateridge, Jungle Scene With Plane Wreck, 2007, oil on canvas, 272 x 400 cm. Courtesy of the Saatchi Gallery, London © Jonathan Wateridge, 2011.

SOUTH AUSTRALIA.- The Art Gallery of South Australia will mount its largest exhibition ever this year – an Australian-exclusive survey, straight from London’s internationally acclaimed Saatchi Gallery. The exhibition will show on from 29 July through 23 October 2011.

Art Gallery of South Australia Director, Nick Mitzevich, says that Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide: British Art Now will be the largest exhibition of British contemporary art shown in over a decade in Australia, and the first by the Saatchi Gallery to visit our shores.

‘The Art Gallery of South Australia will be the only Australian venue to display and celebrate this must-see exhibition, curated by the Saatchi Gallery’s team, which is set to engage and fascinate the Australian art audience’, Mr Mitzevich says.

‘The high profile Saatchi Gallery has been arguably the biggest influence on contemporary British art during the past 25 years, and has spectacularly succeeded in its aim to bring contemporary art to the widest audience possible’.

‘British Art Now will showcase works from its collection by over 40 of the UK’s most important and challenging emerging contemporary artists, and will occupy over half of the Gallery space when it goes on show for three months from July.’

Saatchi Gallery Chief Executive Nigel Hurst says that Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide and the Saatchi Gallery’s collaboration with the city of Adelaide and the Art Gallery of South Australia, presents a wonderful opportunity to bring contemporary British art in the Saatchi Gallery’s collection to a new audience.

‘This is the very first time in Australia for the Saatchi Gallery and this young group of artists. The Art Gallery of South Australia is clearly embracing contemporary art and this exhibition seems like a very natural meeting of hearts and minds’, Mr Hurst says.

‘Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide is a large survey of work by an exciting group of young artists who have recently emerged in the UK. This new generation of artists produces work that provides an arresting insight into the future of contemporary art in Britain’.

The Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide: British Art Now will further cement the Art Gallery’s position as a centre of cultural innovation, and give Australians the once-in-a-lifetime chance to experience the best of cutting-edge, ground-breaking British art here in their own backyard.

‘I am thrilled the Gallery has successfully realised its ambitious vision of bringing this exhibition exclusively to Adelaide, and acknowledge the South Australian Government for its support through the new Major Exhibitions Fund, Tourism Australia, South Australian Tourism Commission and Events South Australia’, says Michael Abbott, AO, QC, Chairman, Art Gallery of South Australia Board.

‘I am also very happy to announce that ANZ, Robert Walters, Qantas and M&C Saatchi have come on board as sponsors of this exhibition. I congratulate these companies for their commitment to supporting contemporary art’.

In conjunction with Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide: British Art Now, the Art Gallery of South Australia will also be exhibiting Tracey Emin’s My Bed. This is an incredibly rare opportunity for Australian audiences to see one of the most iconic works of art from the twentieth century, a work which fundamentally changed the cultural landscape and altered the direction of British art into the next decade.

My Bed, a major work by one of the most renowned Young British Artists, illustrates the influence and importance of Charles Saatchi as a collector and promoter of British contemporary art. The value and excitement of Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide lies in the ‘of the moment’ aspect of the artists and works exhibited. It is anticipated that this ‘unknown’ element of the exhibition will challenge and provoke audiences to talk about the nature and importance of art, and the future direction of British art. Including My Bed in the exhibition is a way of prompting audiences to consider who will be the next Tracey Emin or Damien Hirst and demonstrating that they are witness to new movements in British art.

My Bed
My Bed is arguably the most iconic and controversial work of art by British contemporary artist Tracey Emin. Short-listed for the 1999 Turner Prize, the UK’s most prestigious prize for contemporary art, My Bed sparked a media furor and polarised public opinion. The work has also become a signifier for the ‘shock’ strategies employed by the so-called Young British Artists whose careers were launched by the Saatchi Gallery in the ground-breaking Sensation exhibition.
My Bed is an installation of Emin’s own double-bed surrounded by the detritus of her sexual exploits and self-destructive lifestyle. The sheets are rumpled and stained from use and cigarette butts; empty booze bottles, condoms and worn underwear are further signs of accumulated filth.

My Bed exists as a type of confessional art and refers to a period of suicidal depression Emin suffered after a traumatic breakup. Audiences find her honesty challenging because she shares her most personal emotions and makes her ‘private’ life ‘public’. At a time before reality TV and social media networks were a part of the everyday, the idea of playing out such tawdry truths in a public art display was seemingly incomprehensible.

My Bed is a seminal work of art. It sent shockwaves through the art world but also entered mainstream consciousness. It continues to spark vigorous debate ranging from the purpose and definition of art to post-feminist issues. A consummate storyteller, Emin engages the viewer in her candid portrayal of the most intimate aspects of her private life – in all its embarrassing glory. Audiences are relentlessly drawn to her work with macabre fascination.

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