Charles Saatchi is selling a bed complete with embroidered panels by Tracey Emin along with 50 other works of sculpture and installation art. The sale will take place in October, at Christie’s, in an auction titled, ‘Thinking Big’. Proceeds from the sale will subsidise schools education programmes and continue the free entry to exhibitions policy, at the privately owned Gallery. This has been a busy week for the Art Dealer who was granted a divorce from his TV chef wife Nigella Lawson, on Wednesday in a High Court in London, ending his turbulent 10-year marriage. District Judge Anne Aitken granted the couple a decree nisi in a court hearing that lasted less than a minute. It is thought that the auction was arranged prior to the break-up.
To accommodate the monumental scale and scope of the work, Thinking Big will exhibited at a massive disused Postal Sorting Office, in central London. It is set to coincide with the Frieze Art Fair week in October.
Francis Outred, Christie’s Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Europe, says, “We have been working with the Saatchi Gallery on this project for about a year now. This exhibition and auction will be pioneering in that all the works will be offered without estimate or reserve. In addition, a state of the art exhibition at the Sorting Office, a huge ex postal building in the heart of London, will house major sculpture and installation from across the last twenty years beginning with the Tracey Emin and the Chapman brothers to Berlinde de Bruyckere, who is one of the stand out artists at this year’s Venice Biennale. The artists come from five different continents and the exhibition and auction will be a fundamental celebration of the sculpture in the 21st century. Thinking Big refers to the huge ambition and imagination of the artists here, as much as it does to the scale of their work, and to the power of educating young people about art.”
Thinking Big features the work of 50 artists who have been shown at the Saatchi Gallery, including YBAs, such as Tracey Emin and the Chapman brothers, as well as newer talents such as Toby Ziegler, Kader Attia, Conrad Shawcross, Kris Martin and Sterling Ruby. Among the many leading contemporary artists included are Berlinde de Bruyckere, whose work at the Belgian Pavilion was a highlight of the 2013 Venice Biennale; Gert and Uwe Tobias, who had a solo show at London’s Whitechapel Gallery earlier this year; and David Altmejd, Karla Black and Liu Wei, all of whom were selected for Art Basel’s Art Unlimited show of large-scale sculpture this year.
Philippa Adams, Senior Director, Saatchi Gallery, comments: “Thinking Big aims to provide the broadest possible access and opportunity to museums, institutions and collectors alike by offering these works with no estimates and no reserves. This will be the first time in history that works of this scale will be so readily accessible. To this end, our endeavor is to reflect the Gallery’s commitment to constantly support and showcase emerging talent. We hope this new platform will bridge new dialogues and the works from this sale will be seen by new audiences across the world.”
The Saatchi Gallery has consistently collected high quality emerging work, whose importance has endured. It has also showcased new talent emerging around the globe, providing a widely visited museum environment for new art. The Thinking Big auction will support the Saatchi Gallery’s ongoing policy of free admission to all exhibitions and its free education programme – with over 2000 school visits each year.
The Saatchi Gallery will be thirty years old in 2015. It was the first art space in the UK to show a whole host of artists before they became household names, from Jeff Koons and Bruce Nauman to Andreas Gursky, Sigmar Polke and Damien Hirst. During the last five years it has showcased new art from the Middle East, China, India, Russia, Germany, America and Britain. Art from all of these regions, as well as the UK will be on display in Thinking Big.
Francis Outred, Christie’s Head of Post-War & Contemporary Art, Europe, comments: “I hope Thinking Big inspires people in the way I was inspired by the Saatchi Gallery as a teenager in the late 1980s. It was a shot in the arm – nowhere else in London showed new art on such a scale. The Saatchi’s combination of showing the very best of the new, together with its mission to educate, has inspired a whole generation of collectors, curators, gallerists and, of course artists. In the midst of the current global interest in contemporary art, we can only guess at how different it would be without the Saatchi Gallery’s continual support of new artists.
Thinking Big is a unique auction concept with no reserves and no estimates on the works, with payment terms of at least three months available to public institutions. Designed to support art education and free admission, it enables young people from all backgrounds to gain access to contemporary art, high quality teaching and educational events.
Exhibition: 12-18 October 2013 | The Sorting Office, 21-31 New Oxford Street, London WC1A 1AP Auction: 17 October 2013, at 5pm | Christie’s London, 8 King Street – St. James’s, London SW1Y 6Q