Zhang Hongtu, "Long Live Chairman Mao 29", Saatchi Gallery

Zhang Hongtu

Emily Pitts writes:

As the leaves start to turn, so the cashmere and champagne crew turns out for the start of London’s art fair season. Amid the annual Zoo, Frieze and Scope art fairs, a particular attraction this year is the opening of the new Saatchi Gallery at the Duke of York’s HQ on the King’s Road. Its position just off Sloane Square, together with the elegance of the 1804 Soane-esque architecture and the sophisticated interior, belie the thoroughly modern approach of the new gallery.

The Saatchi Gallery has long been famous for its position at the forefront of the contemporary art movement and for providing a space for work by artists who are regarded as promising rather than established. There are, however, two particularly interesting aspects to the new gallery. Firstly, it is providing a ‘real-world’ space for artists who have submitted work online. When we talk about trends,  we often talk about the blur between the real and the virtual world, and here is a great example of an art institution embracing that trend and bringing the virtual into the tangible surroundings of a world-class gallery.

Secondly, the subject matter that has been chosen for the inaugural exhibition; new Chinese artists. The recent return of China as an economic and political power after after two hundred years is being mirrored in the art world (and in culture more generally), as it takes its place at the cutting edge. So it’s in with the new, out with the old, as we witness Damian Hirst consigned (if £95m richer) to the auction halls of Sotheby’s, as China and its young artists become our new ‘sensation’.

The picture shown is Zhang Hongtu’s “Long Live Chairman Mao Series #29”. The Revolution Continues: New Chinese Art is at the Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Road, London SW1, until 18th January 2009.

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