Champagne Life review: Our verdict on the Saatchi Gallery's first all-female art exhibition

Steve Hogarty
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Soheila Sokhanvari’s Moje Sabz (Source: Saatchi Gallery)

Saatchi Gallery | ★★★☆☆

Taking its name from one of the pieces on display, Champagne Life at Saatchi Gallery presents the work of 14 emerging female artists from a diverse set of backgrounds.

It’s the first all-woman exhibition in the gallery’s 30-year history, somewhat surprisingly, but rather than attempt to offer an ambitious and all-encompassing commentary on the state of the female artist, it’s satisfied to simple draw these works together for the sake and enjoyment of the art itself.

As a result, this varied exhibition comprises a chaotic and discordant selection of prints, paintings and sculptures. One of the most striking is Alice Anderson’s 181 Kilometres (pictured right), a two metre wide ball of glossy copper thread spun up over the course of several days.

Then stroll into the adjacent gallery, where hanging from the walls in big strips of tattered canvas, you’ll find the Seung Ah Paik’s Autolandscape. A fleshly-coloured cacophony of bums and boobs and elbows and feet, the painting draws specific attention to the unflattering details of cracked heels, calluses and wrinkles.

A personal highlight is Soheila Sokhanvari’s Moje Sabz, which takes the form of a taxidermied donkey awkwardly wedged on top of an inflated blob of fibreglass, almost as if a colourful airbag had exploded between its legs. A visual metaphor for the violent uprisings in Iran in 2009, the notes promise.

Lending the exhibition its name is a five-panel screen print by Julia Watchel, in which a series of inverted Kim Kardashians and Kanyes stand head to toe with Minnie Mouse, a distorted view of a glitzy, cork-popping lifestyle that’s at odds with the unglamorous reality of the art world.

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