Magazine article The Spectator

Inspiration to Young Artists

Magazine article The Spectator

Inspiration to Young Artists

Article excerpt

How do you react to the news that Kay Hartenstein Saatchi, ex-wife of Charles, the woman who helped to discover (or invent) the original Brit Art brat pack, is putting on a exhibition of London's best young artists this week?

Perhaps your eyes have already begun to widen with excitement? Perhaps you feel a sudden predatory stillness, as I did, as greed, the 21st-century's answer to aesthetic appreciation, steals across your soul?

Well, then, if you'd visited the One One One gallery in London's West End last Friday as the show, Anticipation, was being hung, you might have felt, as I did, a little chastened by the almost alarming absence of commercialism.

Kay Saatchi may know her Kippenbergers from her Oehlens but she's less art shark than art aunt, fussing and clucking around her 26 young charges with her co-curators, Catriona Warren, (editorial director of ArtReview) and Flora Fairbairn (one of the UK's best freelance art dealers).

'Now, Tatsuya, ' Kay was saying to a young Japanese sculptor, as I arrived, 'when I last saw your sock sculptures they were on a rug. Where's the rug?' Tatsuya looked at his two little crumpled socks beautifully carved from white marble. 'I forgot it.' 'Well how are you going to display them? Would you like a rug?' 'Yes please.' 'Okaaay, then. I guess I'm going to Woolworths this afternoon!' Kay laughed and patted his shoulder, then turned to greet me.

Kay Hartenstein Saatchi is smaller, rounder, sweeter-looking than you'd expect and shyer than you'd imagine a woman who posed in a French maid's outfit for Tatler to be. 'Catriona!' she hissed to her friend in a panic as she showed me around the One One One. 'Come here and help me, in case I don't know what to say.' But she's forceful in defence of the idea behind Anticipation. 'The point is to help the young artists, not to make money for ourselves. We've picked out the work we liked best from degree shows around London, but all the profit goes to the artists; we're not taking a bean. We know how hard it is for artists to get their work seen, and we wanted to give them an opportunity. It's up to them now.' And as she clipped around the gallery on odd little plimsolls with stiletto heels, it was quite clear Kay wasn't faking her enthusiasm. She showed me Jodie Carey's 8ft-high chandeliers, made with the carpet fluff that Carey's mum, a cleaner, vacuums up, and urged Carey to explain her work to me. …

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