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29th September 2017

image.pngIconoclasts explores the experimental and often transformational practices of thirteen groundbreaking artists inviting us to engage with what modern day iconoclasm might be. Whether these talented artists are iconoclasts of 21st Century remains to be seen. Meanwhile, all are driven by an urge to produce art in an intriguingly diverse way. The sumptuous space inside Sloane Square’s Saatchi Gallery provides an excellent setting to discover the variety of work on offer.

A standout three-dimensional piece is Echoes of the Kill by Alexi Williams Wynn. She uses a special blend of wax, steel and wood to describe the deepest hollows of cow and horse lungs. She represents them as translucent coral, a golden forest or synaptic bronchioles of higher forms of intelligence. In fact, Williams has been lucky with lungs, recently given the chance to open the dead body of a Narwal washed up in Belgium and given one of its lungs to create art with. An upcoming solo show of her works in Ghent will feature an installation including the whale lung.

If you like textiles, you’ll love gay textiles! Josh Fought creates calendars, memorials and waterfalls from glittery pink weaves and from indigo hemp. His large tapestries are adorned with self-help books, affirmations, time-faces, nail polish, gloves, pretzels and badges in the most delightful way. He combines Duchampian-punky everyday found objects with the language of a community.

Renne So’s innovative and playful knitted portraits explore the transformation of visual identity from illustration to ancient civilisations. She uses a 1980’s knitting machine to create motifs as diverse as a Victorian top hat to the curls of an Assyrian beard. Black outlines filled with flat blocks of colour portray mysterious genre scenes, the central character repeated throughout her portraits inhabits a infinite world of negative space.

Of the painters, Danny Fox is probably the name to watch. His large-scale oils present the human figure as hero, following the history tradition of painting. A large portrait of a man on a horse, The Salt that Killed the Ramen, evokes the bright colours of Mexico as does Ice Cream Seller. The latter particularly has a provincial feel, except the lone man is pushing an ice-cream cart instead of a plough, so has been modernised in that way. Fox has travelled far and wide from his birthplace of St Ives creating allegorical and representational work.

Another painter playing with history is Makiko Kudo, who recalls traditional Japanese prints and inhabits them with dreamy, Manga-like characters. He says, “Constructing a painting is similar to dreaming. Shuffling different landscapes, creating stories and connecting them with emotion and imagination, like a collage or a jigsaw puzzle. His watery landscapes evoke skilful impressions of Monet.

Thomas Mailaender’s Illustrated People (2014) are edgy, photographic prints of bodies that bring a new and surprising meaning of the phrase “double-take.” He burns the original negatives of past social conflicts onto the skins of unknown subjects with a UV lamp and photographs the temporary results. The strips of film stand out from the patches of red-raw skin on white flesh, an example of Mailaender’s fascination with the wrong things in the wrong place. His compulsive breakdown of human beauty is inventive, amusing and thought provoking.

Other exhibitors are Maurizio Anzeri, Matthew Chambers, Daniel Crews-Chubb, Aaron Fowler, Dale Lewis. Kate Mccquire and Douglas White.

The show runs until 7th January 2018 at the Saatchi Gallery, London, free entry.