British artist Jenny Saville debuts her remarkable series Ekkyklema at the Gagosian Davies Street in London until February 10th. The show’s title refers to the unique platform equipment used in antique theatre productions of Greek tragedy’s to wheel scenes taken place in the interior of the play, into audience view. This brilliant collection refers to the artist’s search for a visual language that acknowledges our dual belonging to the material world and the digital world.
Saville’s collection Ekkyklema takes inspiration from the traditional subjects in Greek mythology with the depiction of reclining figures in nude referring to Danaë, a popular subject amongst classic artists like Titian and Klimt. Saville juxtaposes her classical references by including modern techniques and influences to bring this exhibition to life. The use of intense colour and frenzied composition helps to elevate the concept of multiple perspectives, giving the illusion of overlapping ‘screens’ that expose the intimacy between the subjects. These screens act in the same way as the Ekkyklema would in an an antique theatre production and creates a seamless parallel with the exhibition title and the paintings. They also resemble the multiple digital tabs open on a desktop to help convey this sense of modernism.
Picasso’s abstraction and his cubism techniques are also seen as a source of inspiration to Saville to help create a sense of multiple realities happening at once. The exhibitions curation helps enhance the theme of intimacy with the layout and gallery space allowing visitors to be up close and personal with the works. Saville describes the process as the “challenge of feeling the ancient worlds and digital worlds simultaneously.”