“From Selfie to Self-Expression”: London’s Saatchi Gallery has launched one of the first exhibitions to explore the history of the selfie and celebrate its potential as a form of artistic expression.
“It’s how we would like the world to see us rather than how we are and who we are. It’s more to do with our social circumstances, our social standing.”
Works by the likes of Renoir, Monet and Rembrandt are projected on digital screens. Art-goers can “like” the paintings, just like on social media. And from the old masters to today, selfies by reality TV star Kim Kardashian are also on display.
“It’s no coincidence, I guess, that most selfies are shot in pretty exotic locations, you know — on holiday, when people are experiencing things that are away from their humdrum, mundane lives.”
The exhibition also presents artworks inspired by selfies. English artist Alison Jackson stages lookalike celebrities such as Queen Elizabeth or President Donald Trump in imaginary scenes.
“If it is a means of questioning your own identity, then ok, you can do it. But if it’s a way to showcase yourself to people, it’s something else.”
The exhibition concludes with an installation of 12 surveillance cameras, showing a critical stance on selfies.
“The idea is that the selfie is not an option. It’s something that somehow dissolves our identity for good, but mostly for bad, creating a controlling society.”
It takes less than five seconds to capture a selfie — so it’s perhaps no surprise that we take up to one million every day.