London’s Saatchi Gallery, one of the world’s premier art galleries, is staging a unique exhibition on the self-portrait through the ages – from 16th century masters to the present-day selfie.
“93 millions selfies are taken every day, I believe, so it’s very much part of the world in which we live, our contemporary visual landscape, and we wanted to make an exhibition about that. ‘From Selfie to Self-expression’ is the world’s first exhibition that explores the history of the selfie,” says Nigel Hurst, chief executive of the Saatchi Gallery.
For curators at the Saatchi Gallery, which claims the title of world number one museum on social media, the show was self-evident in a society where selfie-mania is a growing trend.
“We are a kind of self-obsessed culture, at the moment, and I think that’s a result of our economy, the environment, we have to be a bit self-obsessed these days to get along and get ahead. It’s a tough world out there,” says journalist and novelist Will Stor.
The gallery is also organising a contest entitled #SelfExpression in partnership with Huawei. The Chinese giant latest smartphone, the P10, is equipped with 3D recognition.
“We have (developed) a new technology with 360 degree face recognition which allows the smartphone to capture all the details surrounding your face,” explains Walter Ji, Huawei president for the Western European region. He points to a screen: “You see the photo of this face here is very high quality.”
Between technology and art, the aim is to give artists, and the public at large, a new way of capturing the world through photography.
“We saw a trend in that more and more people are really looking for a way to express themselves, to stand out from the crowd, and in our partnershiop with Leica we brought together the heritage of real artistic photography, and that real creativity, and put that into a mobile phone,” says Andrew Garrihy, corporate marketing officer at Huawei.
According to Will Stor, “one of the things that we see with the selfie culture and the introduction of the selfie camera is that we get this instant feedback, with ‘Likes’ and followers, so we get these instant self-esteem hits, it makes it almost addictive really, it really affects our sense of well-being.”
The impact of the selfie culture was also the subject of a debate about self-expression in the digital age entitled “Me, My_Selfie and I”, which you can watch on euronews.com.
From Selfie to Self-expression runs at the Saatchi Gallery in London until July 23.