Not just a blank canvas

By Donna Duggan

Inspired by the Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide, contemporary art no longer sits uncomfortably with me. MiNDFOOD reports.

The idea of contemporary art sits uncomfortably with many people. It can often conjure images of blank canvases and plastic sculptures of severed heads with people remarking ‘I could do that’ or ‘I just don’t get it’.

I must admit I had similar ideas until I had a sneak peek at the Saatchi Gallery in Adelaide: British Art Now at the Art Gallery of South Australia. Now I’m not one to gush but I found the exhibition to be brilliant. All of the 140 pieces in the exhibition had been handpicked by Charles Saatchi from his London-based gallery and shipped for the first time ever to Australia. Yes, there were a couple of critically acclaimed pieces that weren’t for me, but on the whole the exhibition is so diverse and brimming with talent that I would be surprised if anyone came away from the exhibition with anything but a feeling of excitement and wonder.

Highlights for me included a spectacularly intricate display of handmade insects by Tessa Farmer which really has to be seen to be believed and a beautiful piece by Toby Ziegler. Another unexpected joy was It Happened In The Corner by Littlewhitehead. I had seen an uninspiring photograph of the work but it wasn’t until I saw it in person that I could see what all the fuss was about. And for the joy of voyeurism who could miss the opportunity to see Tracey Emin’s infamous My Bed. Yes it’s grotty but I love the variety of reaction it sparks.

The exhibition runs at the Art Gallery of South Australia until October 23. For an interview with gallery director Nick Mitzevich see the October issue of MiNDFOOD.

Travel tip: Stay at the Intercontinental which is a short stroll from the gallery and receive 40 per cent off the Club Room rate. Book a table at former Australian MasterChef contestant Andre’s Cucina & Polenta Bar and treat yourself to a feast.

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