Jonathan Wateridge - Contemporary Artists

Group Series No.2 - Space Program

Group Series No.2 - Space Program The Saatchi Gallery

Jonathan Wateridge

Group Series No.2 - Space Program

Oil on canvas

292 cm x 390 cm

“Astronauts have an almost symbolic status. They operate on the frontier of an effort to understand the unknown. They appeal to a child-like sense of awe and adventure yet are the ultimate display of a culture’s economic power and political ideology. The title Space Program puts the emphasis more on earthly planning than it does the heroics of space manoeuvres. The ship is still under construction, these men are gathered in anticipation of future glory not in celebration of established deeds. Hence there’s a certain tension in the gathering; there’s pride but also reservation. Though you might initially believe the image, subtle but mischievous clues to the work’s fiction are introduced: for example, the milk bottle top or a mobile phone keypad on the ship; plumbing parts on the space suits; the astronauts are in fact friends dressed in costumes made in my studio. As soon as you are made aware of these elements, there’s something mildly comic about the image but also darkly so in the sense that this would obviously be a completely doomed mission!”
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