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The great achievements and failures of humanity on show at the Saatchi Gallery

The great achievements and failures of humanity on show at the Saatchi Gallery
Copyright euronews
Copyright euronews
By Damon Embling
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150 international photographers provided their shots for 'Civilisation', an exhibition highlighting the complexity and contradictions of life on planet earth.


London’s Saatchi Gallery is hosting a new photography exhibition, unravelling the visual threads of global civilisation. Entitled ‘Civilisation: The Way We Live Now’, the exhibition explores both humankind’s great collective achievements its ruinous failings.

It brings together images from 150 international photographers, all of whom highlight the complexity and contradictions of life on our planet.

“I kind of see the photographers as the eyes of civilisation. No civilisation before has ever had this total viewpoint, and there are photographers everywhere, working on everything,” says William A. Ewing, the exhibition's co-curator.

Damon Embling
Saatchi Musuem, LondonDamon Embling

For Olaf Otto Becker, from Germany, his focus is on the environment and climate change. In one example, Becker captures tourists on an ice cap in Greenland.

“Every day, about 500 tourists come to this place, to understand global warming, but they can’t feel it, they can’t see it. So, this is the problem with global warming. We need the help of scientists,” Becker says.

"People want to be together. It’s about community.”
Johanna Urschel

Extraordinary queues of people, waiting to witness Queen Elizabeth II lying in state in London last year, struck American British photographer Johanna Urschel. To give a sense of scale, she documented city landmarks as backdrops.

Damon Embling
Two women looking at work by Johanna UrschelDamon Embling

“A quarter of a million people came together to be a part of this, they stood in line for up to 10 miles (16 kilometres)," Urschel says.

Documenting humankind's accomplishments – outside of this world

German photographer Michael Najjar is a self-confessed space addict. He even took part in some astronaut training.

At Saatchi, Najjar’s works explore our future, beyond planet Earth.

Damon Embling
German photographer Michael NajjarDamon Embling

“I think we saw a massive transformation in the field of space exploration in the past 10 years. And, as an artist, I was very much interested in how these new technologies, these new ways of accessing space, are impacting our life on Earth, our future life on other moons and other planets.”

New works have been added for this London edition of the exhibition, which has been touring internationally.

The 'Civilisation: The Way We Live Now' runs at London’s Saatchi Gallery until 17 September.

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