Haunch of Venison presents a group show featuring work by Jia Aili, Jitish Kallat, Susanne Kuhn, Justin Mortimer, Patricia Piccinini and Uwe Wittwer.
In this exhibition Haunch of Venison presents Beijing based Chinese artist, Jia Aili for the first time in Europe; Australian artist Patricia Paccinini for the first time in London; and new work by British artist Justin Mortimer for the first time with the gallery.
The Observer includes the work of six international contemporary artists - five painters and one sculptor - who all create art within the realm of figurative realism. Despite the impact of photography, abstraction, film and video, realism and figurative realism continues to be prevalent in contemporary art from around the world. The works on display demonstrate the range of methods used in this genre - from meticulously constructed photo-realist images to looser, more naturalistic work.
The exhibition takes its title from an emblematic work by Australian artist Patricia Piccinini. The Observer, 2010, is a sculpture of a young boy perched precariously on top of an unbalanced stack of chairs that look set to collapse at any moment, a visual metaphor of the world the human race has constructed for itself and the uncertain future it faces. A key theme running through the show is the way in which artists are using figuration to explore a shared sense of crisis, and to create a new iconography of melancholy. The prevalence of melancholic imagery and disturbing themes in the work of these leading figurative artists articulates their perception of a world in turmoil.
The Observer is at Haunch of Venison, 51 Eastcastle Street.