…and here, ladies and gentlemen, we have an example of The Saatchi Gallery doing what they do best: large group shows that survey a contemporary terrain in the visual arts. This time it's photography, and it's actually not bad.
There are a number of things that can go wrong with a large-scale group show, and mostly the pitfalls are around the difficulty of maintaining interest, the expected drop in quality of some works in relation to others, and the pomposity of trying to say too much about a subject. The Saatchi Gallery have been relatively consistent at this kind of work since they moved into their Kings Road digs, and of course while some shows felt better than others, this exhibition leaves a visitor with the impression that they've settled somewhat. This presentation, which will run throughout the summer, has some tough competition around town, the gallery clearly have a strategy in mind: popular medium, trendy names. It's the casual connoisseurs' summer show of choice.
Out of Focus is the show in question. It's The Saatchi Gallery's first major photography exhibition since I Am A Camera in 2001 and features the work of thirty-seven international artists. The gallery present a wide stretch of artists, from John Stezaker to the twenty-two year old Mohau Modisakeng, with both established and soon-to-be photographers in between. It's quite a list: Laurel Nakadate, Ryan McGinley, Broomberg & Chanarin, Katy Grannan, Mat Collishaw, Matthew Day Jackson…The extended list is quite an obvious choice of artists born between approximately 1965 - 1980; that's no bad thing per se, particularly when you've got Because favourites including A.L. Steiner and Michele Abeles, for example.
A polite tip of the hat to The Saatchi Gallery then for a job well done, and to consistency. Now, let's not let them sit on their laurels. You wouldn't want them to get boring, would you?
Out of Focus is at The Saatchi Gallery until 22 July.