This week a photography and art exhibition opened at Saatchi Gallery in London. Coolsmartphone was lucky enough to get early access and to spend some time there before the doors opened to the public. “From Selfie To Self-Expression” is an event partnership between Saatchi Gallery and Huawei, and looks at the history of the selfie from the old masters to present day.
You may remember that we were at the Saatchi Gallery + Huawei + Leica exhibition in Barcelona during MWC this year. This exhibition was a similar partnership, but on a much wider and grander scale: it was spread over multiple galleries and floors of the Saatchi Gallery in Chelsea, and this exhibition was fun and well curated. The galleries were themed to content types and periods, with the old master self-portraits displayed on digital screens which had companion Instagram-like screens. I found this particularly fun: engaging with Rembrandt and Van Gogh as you would with a cat picture or someone’s breakfast is probably more appealing to today’s digital natives than traditional gallery exhibitions.
While the ground floor looks at the selfie as an art form and its use from the past to present day, the first floor was a bit closer to the funky and cutting-edge tech we love here at Coolsmartphone. One gallery was dedicated to photography captured on Huawei smartphones with a Leica dual-lens cameras (our full review of Huawei’s flagship P10 is coming soon). A nice touch which highlights the latest Huawei device was that of the pedestals presenting the commissioned photographers’ content on the devices they shot with: Huawei P10s.
Similar to the Barcelona exhibition, some of the photographers and content was the same and I immediately recognised one of Chris Levine’s pieces with its distinctive red glow. The 10 commissioned photographers all brought their very different content and approaches to creating the pieces to the exhibition. From Tom Hunter, who photographs his local community in East London, to Alma Haser, who merges collage and paper-folding techniques with portraiture, the spread was wide.
I had a brief chat with Chris Levine about how it was to work with the Huawei P10, and he was very positive about its performance and capabilities. His portrait of Naomi Campbell taken with the monochrome lense is stunning, and highlights that the P10’s cameras are definitely “good enough”. Chris’s portraits weren’t his only work on display. Placed between the portraits were some of his pieces in which he is working with light and laser refraction.
The other gallery which caught my attention was one where slightly more out there installations were. The piece I really enjoyed playing around with was one called “Pom Pom Mirror”, which uses a Microsoft Xbox Kinect motion sensor, a mac-mini, custom software and a wooden armature to create a mirror made out of pom poms. There are 928 faux fur pom poms driven by 464 electric motors: if you stand in front of the installation, the Pom Pom Mirror creates a moving mirror image of you. Daniel Rozin, creator of the piece was quite open about how the piece was made and the challenges of getting the hardware and software to work.
I really enjoyed the “From Selfie To Self-Expression” exhibition. It is open to the public until May 30th 2017 at Saatchi Gallery in London. Full details in the press release below the fold.
Saatchi Gallery and Huawei present From Selfie to Self-Expression
from 31st March – 30th May 2017
Saatchi Gallery and Huawei, the world’s number three smartphone brand, announce they have teamed up to present From Selfie to Self-Expression. Opening at the Saatchi Gallery on 31st March 2017, the show will be the world’s first exhibition exploring the history of the selfie from the old masters to the present day, and will celebrate the truly creative potential of a form of expression often derided for its inanity.
From Selfie to Self-Expression will showcase key artworks, many of which feature interactive, digital and user-generated content, by artists as diverse as Christopher Baker, Rafael Lozano-Hemmer, Juno Calypso, Tracey Emin, Van Gogh, Mohau Modisakeng, Rembrandt, Cindy Sherman, Gavin Turk and Velazquez.
Showing alongside examples of many influential artists’ work will be selfies that have quickly become icons of the digital era – from the beautiful and sublime to the mad, bad and downright dangerous.
The show will also highlight the emerging role of the smartphone as an artistic medium for self-expression through the commissioning ten exciting young British photographers to create new works using Huawei’s new P10 dual lens smartphone co-engineered with Leica, as part of their artistic practice. Reprising the spirit and energy of the Young British Artist movement first launched 25 years ago; the works of these young British photographers will go on display in a gallery dedicated to world-class smartphone photography. In this gallery the focus will shift from Selfie to documenting the world around us as a contrasting form of Self-Expression.
The ten commissioned photographers are: Alma Haser, who merges collage and inventive paper-folding techniques with portraiture in her practice; Tom Hunter, who explores his local community in East London producing images that merge landscape, social commentary and art history.
Chris Levine, a pioneer of light photography, whose portrait of Queen Elizabeth II Lightness of Being has become a contemporary icon; Christopher Nunn, a Yorkshire-based photographer who documents life in in Ukraine; Laura Pannack, a London-based photographer renowned for her portraiture and social documentary artwork; Simon Roberts, whose work deals with our relationship to landscape and notions of identity and belonging.
Jonny Briggs, whose work explores his relationship with the constructed reality of the family; Emma Critchley, an artist who works underwater using photography, film, sound and installation to explore the human relationship with this psychological and environmental space; Hannah Starkey, who reconstructs scenes from everyday life using actors and carefully considered settings to produce images that have the concentrated stylisation of film and Matt Stuart, whose street photography shows an empathetic fascination with people and the way live their lives.
Huawei’s partnership with the Saatchi Gallery is a demonstration of its commitment to growing its brand presence in the UK and support of creative expression through photography everywhere. It follows the launch last year of the game-changing Huawei P Series smartphones which reinvented smartphone photography with the world’s first dual-lens camera co-engineered with iconic camera brand Leica.
The exhibition will open from 31st March – 30th May 2017 and take over one entire floor of the Saatchi Gallery.
The #SaatchiSelfie Competition
As part of the forthcoming From Selfie to Self-Expression exhibition Saatchi Gallery and Huawei have joined forces to offer artists, photographers and enthusiasts around the globe a chance to show their most creative selfies internationally, and have their work exhibited at the Saatchi Gallery, as part of the competition #SaatchiSelfie.
The judging panel, Tracey Emin, Idris Khan, Juergen Teller, Juno Calypso and Saatchi Gallery CEO Nigel Hurst, will select a shortlist of ten from the 14,000 selfies entered by the public. In addition to having their selfie showcased at the Saatchi Gallery the ten shortlisted winners will also receive Huawei’s new P10 smartphone, and the overall winner will have an all expenses trip to join a Leica Photography Ambassador on an international photo shoot assignment. The overall winner of the #SaatchiSelfie Competition will be announced at the show’s launch in London on 30th March 2017.
“We’ve received more than 14,000 submissions from over 113 countries,” said Nigel Hurst, CEO, Saatchi Gallery “We have been enormously impressed with the way many of the entries have approached the creative challenge we set, and lived up to the spirit of the exhibition that their work will be part of.”
Nigel Hurst, CEO Saatchi Gallery
“In many ways, the selfie represents the epitome of contemporary culture’s transition into a highly digitalised and technologically advanced age as mobile phone technology has caught up with the camera. We are thrilled to be collaborating with Huawei on From Selfie to Self-Expression. The exhibition will present a compelling insight into the history and creative potential of the selfie, while the #SaatchiSelfie competition provides a global platform for Self-Expression. Our commissioning of work by ten young British photographers completes the narrative and highlights the exciting potential of the very latest technology to encourage creativity.”
Glory Zhang, CMO Huawei Consumer Business Group
“After a decade of smartphone photography, we have reached a tipping point. We are moving from documenting our engagement with the world through selfies to projecting our personalities on to the world through our creativity. The smartphone has become a tool of artistic expression. The Selfie Generation is becoming the Self Expression Generation as each of us seeks to explore and share our inner creativity through the one artistic tool to which we all have access; the Smartphone.”
Huawei is a global technology brand and the world’s third largest manufacturer of smartphones. In April 2016, Huawei reinvented smartphone photography with the launch of the P9 smartphone featuring a unique dual-lens camera co-engineered with the iconic brand, Leica Camera AG. Setting a new benchmark smartphone camera technology, the device enables more light and better clarity, to capture brilliant colour and striking black and white images in true Leica style.
Huawei believes in cultural technology: the fusing of technology and culture to deliver solutions to help people express themselves in a new way. Its brand motto is ‘Make It Possible’ and it shares values with people who pursue their dreams, who are visionary challengers, and who are proactive with a strong belief in striving to achieve their goals. Huawei is dedicated to bringing the latest technology to consumers and creating extraordinary experiences for people everywhere and will continue to do so through partnerships with likeminded innovative and creative brands such as Leica and Saatchi Gallery.
For more information please visit: http://consumer.huawei.com
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About Saatchi Gallery:
The Saatchi Gallery was founded in 1985 with the aim of bringing contemporary art to as wide an audience as possible and make it accessible by providing an innovative platform for emerging artists to show their work. Over the last five years the Saatchi Gallery has hosted ten out of the top 15 most visited exhibitions in London, according to The Art Newspaper’s survey of international museum attendance, and is also ranked amongst the world’s top five most liked museums on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Google+. Entry to all exhibitions at the Saatchi Gallery is free. www.saatchigallery.com.