ARTIST:

Tereza Zelenkova

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Tereza Zelenkova
Cometes, 2012
Framed silver gelatin print
127 x 101.6 cm

To make photography startling in a culture saturated with the photographic image is Tereza Zelenkova’s - as every photographer’s - particular challenge. Her approach is to draw from the estrangement of image and subject familiar from Surrealist photography: to dismantle the photograph’s claims to truth, to complicate the act of looking. Take her photograph Cometes (its title referring to the Greek term meaning both ‘comet’ and ‘long-haired’): the stark flash associated with paparazzi photography, its hard light a way to render every blemish visible in the gloom of night, has been applied to an image of concealment, of invisibility.

Tereza Zelenkova
Crocodiles, 2012
Framed silver gelatin print
127 x 101.6 cm

Standing at the corner of a church in Prague, a girl runs her fingers through her very long hair, which nearly sweeps the ground. The hair takes on its own spectral life (the church architecture and implied graveyard adding supernatural resonances to the image); it might be an embrace between a human and a ghost. Zelenkova’s work Crocodiles turns the photograph against itself in a similar way. Taken on a huge chicken farm in the Czech Republic (the artist’s homeland), the image depicts crocodiles used as a cheap way of disposing of unsellable chickens. The image elides its context, though, filling the frame with the piled-up bodies of the animals, whose complex scaling creates a kind of swirling abstraction. The black and white film transforms the crusty skins of the creatures into dusty stone. The act of photography is, here, a kind of Medusa’s gaze: the world seems ancient, mythic, and troubling.

Text by Ben Street

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Thursday, 26 November 2020: COVID-19 / CORONAVIRUS UPDATE:

Following the UK Government’s latest announcement placing London in Tier 2, Saatchi Gallery will re-open from Wednesday, 9 December 2020. We will re-open with our free entry Ground Floor exhibitions (Philip Colbert: Lobsteropolis and Antisocial Isolation) from December 9. The new dates for our next headline exhibition JR: Chronicles will be announced shortly.

Government guidelines on health and safety measures will remain in effect, including social distancing within a one-way system in our galleries, the provision of hand sanitising stations, and the wearing of face coverings by visitors and staff. All visitors are encouraged to pre-book their tickets prior to entry.

We look forward to welcoming you back soon.