EXHIBITION REVIEW: ICONOCLASTS: Art out of the Mainstream @ The Saatchi Gallery, 27/09/2017 – 07/01/2018

The Verse’s Jake Francis reviews ICONOCLASTS: Art out of the Mainstream, a major new exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery open from 27th September 2017 – 7th January 2018. 

What does the word ‘icon’ mean to you? You may naturally think of your personal heroes when this title is heard – the Beyoncés, the Kardashians, or even – god forbid – the Trumps of the world. Alternatively, you may find yourself in the midst of the official definition – contemplating on the various religious saviours and their influence, for better or worse, on individuals and society. Or, like the autocorrect on my computer, you may decide that I was trying to write the word Akon, and indeed render the word meaningless. Six of one, half a dozen of the other.

When it comes to the Saatchi Gallery however, the title of ‘icon’ is being challenged on a number of fronts; their exhibition ‘ICONOCLASTS: Art out of the Mainstream’ celebrates artists who seek the lost quality of fighting the status quo. The show is set to explore thirteen artists whose practices naturally fall within the realms of ‘the unusual’, their individual works pushing against the somewhat cherished ideals of artistic production.

Within this myriad of ‘defiers’, you’ll find the likes of French artist Thomas Mailaender, who’s artworks dabble in replacing found images onto human flesh – each dermal collage offering a conflicting reaction of pained humour. Alongside this, you will also find the intricate stitchings of Italian-British artist Maurizio Anzeri; the two traditional arts of fishing net repair and the 2D image being delicately spliced together despite the unlikely partnership.

Thomas Mailaender, Illustrated People #6 (2013)

This splicing of traditional technique with contemporary ideals is also present in the works of Dale Lewis, a 2006 graduate of the Brighton MA Fine Art course. Lewis produces large-scale paintings from his own memory and experiences, the recognisable scenes depicting the chaos of everyday life within the styles of Lowry, or even medieval tapestries.

Dale Lewis, Eurovision (2015)

Amongst the artists mentioned above, the exhibition also features the work of Matthew Chambers, Daniel Crews-Chubb, Josh Faught, Aaron Fowler, Danny Fox, Makiko Kudo, Kate MccGwire, Renee So, Douglas White and Alexi Williams-Wynn.

Despite this endless barrage of the ‘unlikely’, there is the ever current theme of deconstruction; each practitioner celebrating their difference to the arts in its traditional sense.

Now you may be thinking ‘isn’t avant-garde dead nowadays? Surely it’s all been done before?’ And you’d be quite right in your questioning. The difference here is that ICONOCLASTS does not shy away from that fact, acknowledging our current flow of the ‘fad’ and our obsessions with short lived, fast-paced gratification. As the press release states: ‘while the group cannot be described as iconoclasts in the traditional sense of the word, they are all driven by an iconoclastic urge’ to rattle the cage of mundanity with a sense of intrigue – and that in itself is worth celebrating.

Iconoclasts: Art out of the Mainstream opens at The Saatchi Gallery, London on the 27th of September until the 7th of January 2018. Entry to the exhibition is free.

Kate MccGwire, Corvid (2011)


The Verse Staff

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Next Post

PREVIEW: Godspeed You! Black Emperor @ Brighton Dome, 23/10/2017

Tue Oct 3 , 2017
The Verse’s Tom Evans reviews Godspeed You! Black Emperor ahead of their show at Brighton Dome on 23rd October 2017.  Hailing from Montreal, Canada Godspeed You! Black Emperor make a welcome return to the Brighton Dome. I was lucky to witness their previous show almost exactly two years ago at the […]
Godpseed You! Black Emperor

You May Like

Get In Touch

Editor in Chief                     contactverse@gmail.com                                 Alice Pierre & Daisy Bradshaw

Student Voice Editor     versestudentvoice@gmail.com                       Sarah Tann

Arts Editor                       versethearts@gmail.com                         Bethany Jo O’Neill

Entertainment Editor           verseentertain@gmail.com                        Federica Purcaro

Creative Editor                 versecreate@gmail.com                           Roxanne Clark

News Editor                       versenews@gmail.com

Social Media Manager                                 n/a

Photographers                                                Alice Pierre                                                          Tate Batham

Website Manager                                          Amber Eder



About us

The Verse is run by students, for students. If you’re studying at University of Brighton and you’d like to get involved by writing for us or becoming a sub-editor, we welcome you to contact us via email.

The Verse is funded and supported by Brighton Students’ Union.

The views expressed on The Verse online newspaper do not necessarily represent the views of Brighton Students’ Union, its management or employees. For more information or for any enquiries, please contact the Marketing and Communications Team at bsucommunications@brighton.ac.uk