27 September 2017 - 7 January 2018
Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY


London, UK – Saatchi Gallery presents ICONOCLASTS: ART OUT OF THE MAINSTREAM, a major new exhibition featuring the work of thirteen contemporary artists. 


Iconoclasts explores the experimental and often transformational practices of a small group of groundbreaking artists, inviting us to engage anew with what modern day iconoclasm might be. 


By using a myriad of unusual image-making practices - from branding imagery onto human skin to sculpting curving structures out of crow feathers - these artists are breaking the mould, ushering in a new age of artistic defiance through their resistance of typical artistic processes and their personal interpretations of cultural mores. 


As an act, iconoclasm historically holds both religious and progressive connotations. However, 21st-century culture has eroded the radicalism of this concept, and artists are now questioning the intrinsic nature of iconoclasm itself by scrutinizing what defines a work of art. 


While this group cannot be described as iconoclasts in the traditional sense of the word, they are all driven by an iconoclastic urge, which manifests itself in the intriguingly diverse and often destructive ways they produce art. A startling number of materials and techniques cohabit in one exhibition, where abstraction, figuration, creation and deconstruction combine. 


At a time when the very notion of iconoclasm has seemingly become mainstream, Iconoclasts brings together the work of thirteen distinct contemporary figures, seeking to examine what it means to be an iconoclast today. 


Iconoclasts features the work of Maurizio Anzeri, Matthew Chambers, Daniel Crews-Chubb, Josh Faught, Aaron Fowler, Danny Fox, Makiko Kudo, Dale Lewis, Thomas Mailaender, Kate MccGwire, Renee So, Douglas White and Alexi Williams-Wynn. 



About the Artists 


Maurizio Anzeri (born in Italy, lives and works in London) 

Anzeri’s practice of painstakingly embroidering into vintage photographs is informed in part by his fisherman heritage. He has described the repairing of fishing nets as a ritualistic “meticulous gesture”, which inspires his unique technique of stitching into found imagery. By weaving together different materials, Anzeri invites us to imagine the multi-layered sensations of the flat pictorial surface. Anzeri graduated with an MA from The Slade School of Fine Art in 2005 and has exhibited widely since in places such as the Shanghai Gallery of Art, the Victoria & Albert Museum in London and the Palazzo Reale, Milan. He was also the only contemporary artist to be included in the 2015 Alexander McQueen exhibition ‘Savage Beauty’. 


Matthew Chambers (born in Idaho, lives and works in Montana) 

Chambers has created his own visual iconography; a world of materials and figures which work together to create an open, poetic narrative. His often colourful and bold works explore the act of painting itself as well as the boundary between abstraction and figuration. Chamber’s slash paintings are composed of ribbons cut from his own pre-existing works, demonstrating a punk, self-referential iconoclasm. Composition, deconstruction and recomposition all come into play in his work, where the human figure is always present and easily identifiable, manifested in strange creatures. Chambers completed his BA at the University of Miami in 2004 and has exhibited at MOCA Los Angeles and the Zabludowicz Collection in London, amongst others. 


Daniel Crews-Chubb (born in Northampton, lives and works in London) 

In his practice, Crews-Chubb depicts the human body in intensely formed male and female figures, closely referencing the raw expression of the French painter Jean Dubuffet and his Art Brut style. His bold and vibrant works employ a traditional, expressionistic, painterly language wrestling with his primary influences – primitive art, ancient rituals and amateur anthropology. Crews-Chubb completed the Painters Studio Programme at Turps Art School in 2013, having previously graduated from Chelsea College of Art in 2009. 


Josh Faught (born in Missouri, lives and works in San Francisco) 

Faught combines textiles, collage, painting and sculpture to create tapestries that, in his words, “address the relationships between language, community, and constructions of identity”. He follows a Duchampian tradition of utilising found objects, and highlights the connections and disconnections between materials and things – his works are decorative objects with shamanic qualities. Faught completed his MA in Fiber and Material Studies at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago in 2006 and has since exhibited at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston and the Baltimore Museum of Art. 

Aaron Fowler (born and works in Missouri) 


Fowler’s work is highly personal, frequently taking his own photographs as source material which capture moments or episodes in his life. His dense, action-packed figurative surfaces are almost Matisse-like in their flat decorative treatment of space, but unlike Matisse’s peaceful interiors they are full of often violent movement; they capture an instant and lock it in. Fowler completed his BFA at Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts, Philadelphia before completing his MFA at Yale University School of Art, New Haven in 2014. 


Danny Fox (born in St. Ives, lives and works in Los Angeles and London) 

Myth, magical realism, urban sleaze, colonialism; these are some of the subjects that interest Fox, and he portrays them in a knowingly naïve manner, which owes something to early 


modernist art - Gauguin and Alfred Wallis. He relates his work to the tradition of history painting, presenting the human figure as a hero from a tale. Fox like Wallis made works that are, as he said himself, more experiences and events than paintings. Fox works on a large scale and with bright colours, inspired by the many places he has been to and the many people he has seen and encountered. Through a meticulous system of editing and erasure, he brings together fragments to create works that are at once allegorical and representational. 


Makiko Kudo (born and works in Japan) 

The realm of dreams and memory is one that Kudo’s figures inhabit. Characterised by her fervent and expressive brushwork and a vivid palette, she depicts figures amid lush landscapes that derive their motifs from everyday life and her own imagination. The almost decorative technique of integrating the human figure into the formal composition is reminiscent of Matisse, but rather than confronting or depicting the world as it is, Kudo rejects it by escaping from it. Kudo graduated from Joshibi University of Art and Design with a specialisation in oil painting in 2002. Recent solo exhibitions have been at Tomio Koyama Gallery in Tokyo as well as at the TOMODACHI Takahashi Collection. 


Dale Lewis (born in Essex, lives and works in London) 

Lewis produces large-scale paintings in just one day, always from memory and partly derived from situations he has directly observed. He presents a choreography of figures which refer to mythology and modernist iconography, as well as contemporary life. His raw scenes of urban environments revel in the underbelly of British life at which he gazes at unflinchingly and seemingly gleefully. Lewis completed his BA in Fine Art at London Guildhall University in 2004 before completing his MA in Fine Art at the University of Brighton in 2006. In 2016, he became a Jerwood Painting Fellow, mentored by artist Dan Coombes. 


Thomas Mailaender (born in Marseille, lives and works in Paris) 

Mailaender’s work is wide ranging; ideas, techniques, technologies and narrative combine in inventive, amusing ways. His cyanotypes of found images have a strange mystery, a sense of distance from the original image so that the viewer’s experience is of seeing in two ways simultaneously, often humorously. Similarly, the photographs of bodies - themselves with photographs printed on them - confer a new and surprising meaning onto the phrase “double- take”. Mailaender studied at the École Nationale Supérieure des Arts Décoratifs in Paris, after completing his Brevet de technician supérieur in Visual Communication. 


Kate MccGwire (born in Norwich, lives and works in London) 

Though her works may be considered abstract, MccGwire’s structures are distinctly organic. Part of a lineage of British sculpture tied to Henry Moore and Barbara Hepworth, their shapes, albeit abstracted, follow the lines of the human body. By using feathers in a repetitious, obsessive way, she venerates the typically overlooked to create forms that are bodily yet also alien, animalistic and strange. MccGwire received an MA in Sculpture from The Royal College of Art, and her work has been shown at Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle in France, Museum of Arts & Design in New York and the Royal Academy in London. 


Reneee So (born in Hong Kong, lives and works in London) 

So’s handknitted creations are a nod to her dual Asian/Australian heritage. Her “knitted portraits” and sculptures create bridges across iconographies and cultures, from illustration to Ancient civilisations, which all explore shapes and the transformation of visual identity. There are several playful recurring motifs in So’s work - the two-faced figure with Elizabethan top hats, the spherical curls of Assyrian beards – and she artfully creates mysterious genre scenes in her woven tapestries. So was born in Hong Kong and gained her BA in Fine Art from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology. 


Douglas White (born in Guilford, lives and works in London) 

White’s work is, and is about, transformation; the transformation of materials, transformed states of being and the transformative potential of objects. He assembles things – some human, some natural – into vegetal-like, totemic realities. White’s works invite us to look for human presence in installations where no intervention by hand is immediately apparent. White earned his BA at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art, Oxford, before completing his MA in sculpture at the Royal College of Art. 


Alexi Williams-Wynn (born in Wrexham, lives and works in London) 

Intrigued by the ways in which humans understand and process the world, Williams-Wynn attempts to challenge our perceptions of reality. By working with anatomical techniques in a quest to make visible the hollow spaces of the body, Williams-Wynn questions our accepted notions of beauty, and her work disrupts the predictability of our expectations. Wynn-Williams completed her BA at City & Guilds London in 2001 and has since studied at the Royal Academy of Art and the University of Ghent. 



About Saatchi Gallery 


The Saatchi Gallery was founded in 1985 with the aim of bringing contemporary art to as wide an audience as possible and make it accessible by providing an innovative platform for emerging artists to show their work. Over the last five years, the Saatchi Gallery has hosted ten out of the top 15 most visited exhibitions in London, according to The Art Newspaper’s survey of international museum attendance, and also has more followers on social media than any other museum in the world. Entry to all the Saatchi Gallery’s exhibitions is free.