Page last updated at 11:52 GMT, Tuesday, 7 October 2008 12:52 UK

Saatchi leads Chinese revolution

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David Sillito goes behind the scenes at the Saatchi Gallery

A model of a Western city made from dog chews and 15 life-sized figures suspended upside-down are among the exhibits in the new Saatchi Gallery.

The gallery will open on Thursday with its inaugural exhibition The Revolution Continues: New Art From China.

The exhibition brings together 24 of China's leading artists.

The Saatchi Gallery first opened more than 20 years ago, but relocated to the 70,000 sq ft Duke of York HQ, in Chelsea, London, this year.

The gallery was evicted from County Hall on London's Southbank in 2005 after a row with the building's owners.

Taste-maker

The Saatchi gallery claims to be the only completely free entry contemporary art museum of its size in the world.

Simon de Pury, of auction house Phillips de Pury & Company, who is sponsoring the exhibition, said they expected "millions" of visitors.

Old Persons Home, by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu
It features paintings, sculptures and installations by Chinese artists

"It is one man's collection, but he is one of the most important taste-makers in contemporary art," Mr de Pury said.

"Charles Saatchi, for the last 25-30 years, systematically has always been several steps ahead of the game. He has always pinpointed the most important artists of the generations to come."

Among the works Saatchi selected for his new museum is Love It! Bite It!, a model city of Western culture's "tastiest bits" built entirely from dog chews, by Liu Wei.

Yalta No.2, by Shi Xinning, sees the artist re-paint history by seating Chairman Mao Zedong alongside Winston Churchill and Franklin D Roosevelt.

Chinese Offspring
The exhibition is open to the public until next January

Prince Charles' 1981 wedding to Lady Diana Spencer is also re-imagined by Li Qing in Wedding (There Are Six Differences In The Two Paintings).

Old Persons Home by Sun Yuan and Peng Yu presents satirical models of pensioners in wheelchairs who bear some resemblances to world leaders.

The figures roll aimlessly round the basement of the gallery in their wheelchairs.

Other disturbing works include Chinese Offspring, 15 life-sized figures suspended upside down from the ceiling, each one representing a migrant construction worker.

The gallery said it was seeking to establish a "ground breaking" education programme "to make contemporary art even more accessible to young people.

"It is anticipated that the facilities that the Saatchi Gallery plans to offer - at the gallery, via its website and the gallery's own classroom - will ensure that teachers receive the best on-site and outreach support for their students."


SEE ALSO
In pictures: Saatchi Gallery
07 Oct 08 |  In Pictures
Saatchi Gallery reopens in London
01 Sep 08 |  Entertainment

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