I visited the Saatchi Gallery in the Kings Road to see an exhibition on Russian Art. Split into two, the lower galleries feature work in the “Gaiety is the most outstanding feature of the Soviet Union: New Art from Russia” exhibits. The title could not be further from the truth. In fact I’d be surprised if the word ‘gaiety’ had ever passed a Russians lips on the evidence of this exhibition. The works featured photography of hard, beaten and battered Soviets. Criminals covered in homemade tattoos that contained hidden messages,gang insignia and symbols of their crimes. Other pictures featured destitute Russians exposing themselves in the freezing snow, each with a stoned, inebriated look on their rugged faces giving just a tiny clue to the extreme lives they must lead.
The photography of Vikenti Nilin was very interesting. It featured men and women perched on the edge of windowsills and balconies. Not sitting comfortably but dangling as if about to fall while staring emotionless into the abyss. The large, black and white photography was fascinating while being uncomfortable to view.
“Breaking The Ice: Moscow Art 1960-80s” was in the upper galleries. This was perhaps more traditional and had the feel of work that is over thirty years old. Slightly Pop Art’ish with loads of western influences. As always with a Saatchi show there is work to like and work to dislike but it is never boring.