New Saatchi exhibition to explore the power of the selfie

New Saatchi exhibition to explore the power of the selfie

A new exhibition at London’s Saatchi Gallery plans to explore the importance of selfies as an art form.

Opening in March, it will showcase a selection of well-known pieces as well as “selfies that have quickly become icons of the digital era”.

From Selfie To Self-Expression will feature self-portraits from artists through the ages, including Van Gogh, Tracey Emin, Rembrandt, Velazquez, June Calypso and Kutlug Ataman.

The moment you missed from the 86th Oscars.
The moment you missed from the 86th Oscars (Saatchi/PA)

More modern examples include a selfie taken by ex-US president Barack Obama and former prime minister David Cameron, and the moment actor Benedict Cumberbatch “photobombed” a press shot at the Academy Awards.

Nigel Hurst, chief executive officer at the gallery, described the smartphone selfie as an example of a shift in society using technology as a means of self-expression.

He said: “In many ways, the selfie represents the epitome of contemporary culture’s transition into a highly digitalised and technologically advanced age as mobile phone technology has caught up with the camera.

“The exhibition will present a compelling insight into the history and creative potential of the selfie.”

Even Van Gogh couldn't resist a good selfie op.
Even Van Gogh couldn’t resist a good selfie op (Saatchi/PA)

As part of the project, Saatchi is collaborating with technology company Huawei to commission 10 young British photographers to make their own creative contributions.

It will also include the launch of the #SaatchieSelfie competition, asking people around the world to post their most interesting selfies for a chance to be featured in the exhibition.

The winner will be picked out by a panel of artists and receive a Huawei smartphone as well as a “priceless photographic experience” yet to be announced.

Glory Zhang, of Huawei, said: “The smartphone has become a tool of artistic expression.

“The selfie generation is becoming the self-expression generation as each of us seeks to explore and share our inner creativity through the one artistic tool to which we all have access; the smartphone.”

The exhibition will be open from March 31 to May 30 and the competition will run from January 23 to March 19. More information is available here.

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