Saatchi Gallery Hosts Display of Dictators in their Youth
By Mark Brown, Arts Correspondent
17 June 2013
Depictions of young faces of dictators goes on display as part of exhibition featuring artist Annie Kevans devoted to paper
The young faces of boys who grew up to be some of the world's worst dictators have gone on public display at the Saatchi gallery in west London as part of an exhibition devoted to paper.
They are a series of oils on paper by artist Annie Kevans and include the faces of Adolf Hitler, Alfredo Stroessner, Pol Pot and Slobodan Milošević. They were part of Kevans' degree show nine years ago.
Seeing them was strange, admitted Kevans. "They were very last minute, very rushed. I can see the ones I would have redone if I'd have had more time."
The works of all 44 artists in the show were bought by Saatchi when they were graduating or at an early stage in their career. Newspapers feature quite heavily in the new show at his gallery with works like Couch for a Long Time by Jessica Jackson Hutchins, which features a settee plastered in Obama clippings; and two floral arrangements by Jodie Carey, made from copies of the Daily Mail soaked in tea, coffee and animal blood.
Kevans said she was grateful to Saatchi, not least because he kept the series together. "People had been trying to buy bits and pieces of it – they all wanted Hitler."
She recalled initially trying to find images of dictators as children, but finding they simply didn't exist. Most – bar Hitler, Nicolae Ceausescu and Saddam Hussein – are from her imagination.
The show was Saatchi's idea, said the gallery, and reflects the fact that we are increasingly becoming a paperless society.
"There does seem to be something going on with paper," said Rebecca Wilson, the Saatchi Gallery's director . "One of the things that marks this gallery out from other places is that it tends to be led by what artists are doing rather than what a curator might think artists are doing."
The exhibition seems to show that paper is far from over as an artistic medium and includes works that use paper in a traditional way – such as Kevans painting on it – and less traditional ways, such as Rachel Adams, who makes large crinkled paper sculptures.