An Exposition of Futuristic Shapes
The Shape of Things to Come is, as the name itself suggests, indeed an exposition of futuristic shapes. From those taking up just a few feet, to others dominating the whole gallery; some made of predictable materials and others of less ordinary ones – the works are bound to leave visitors stunned.
Dreams and nightmares, animalistic lust, forbidden feelings…
Sculpture has moved away from its conventional path more radically in the past half century. Carved wood, stone and bronze are no longer the limits for sculptors, who now have the courage to experiment with different materials, express less tangible ideas and, at times, employ the shock factor. Dreams and nightmares, animalistic lust, forbidden feelings, all that and more are encrypted in the sculptures of The Shape of Things to Come: New Sculpture.
Monoliths, Horsehair and Neon Lights
Kris Martin’s Summit (2009) is the first sculpture in the exhibition, consisting of eight large monolith-like stones, which the artist describes as “found”. The random assembly of large stones creates a prehistoric atmosphere, vaguely appearing like a smaller, yet nonetheless impressive replica of Stonehenge. People move slowly from one stone to another, inspecting. After a long investigation, miniature crosses are noticed at the top of each piece. This immediately changes the atmosphere to sanctuary-like, adding some mystery to the sculpture. What is the purpose of the crosses? Is it to symbolize a particular religion or something more abstract than that? Visitors can put their own imagination to work as they move between the stones.
…a four-meter tall figure covered in patches of horse hair…
In terms of less orthodox materials used by present-day sculptors, David Altmejd is among the artists who discovered horsehair as a suitable medium. His work The New North (2007) is a four-meter tall figure covered in patches of horse hair, mirrored rhomboid shapes and quartz crystals. The figure carries a mysterious staircase with stalagmites hanging from its steps. Where it leads, again, may depend on one’s interpretation.
Towards the end of the exhibition neon lights take over huge spaces with The Milky Way (2007). Bjorn Dahlem’s room-sized sculpture dominates the whole gallery, where people openly discuss how much electric energy the work consumes. The piece consists of neon lamps, wood and, surprisingly, yet in accordance with the name, a bottle of milk. Wood and light make a great pairing, and we feel as if the room has been filled with extra oxygen: the effect of such brightness.
The Shape of Things to Come is lively, invigorating, and contemporary. It could not have found itself a better place to startle Londoners and tourists than the Saatchi Gallery. Visit it for a dose of present-day art consisting of futuristic shapes.
The exhibition continues until 16 October.
Admission is free