• On view 2 June – 17 September 2023, tickets available to book now: saatchigallery.com/ticket

• Curated by William A. Ewing & Holly Roussell, the show offers an unprecedented look at humankind’s rapidly mutating collective life across the globe through the eyes of many of the world’s finest photographers

• Consisting of over 350 original prints by 150 internationally renowned photographers including; Edward Burtynsky, Lynne Cohen, Gabriele Galimberti, Mandy Barker, Lauren Greenfield, and Ahmad Zamroni

LONDON, UK (21 March 2023) – This June, Saatchi Gallery will present Civilization: The Way We Live Now, an international exhibition offering an unprecedented look at 150 contemporary photographers tracking the visual threads of humankind’s ever-changing, extraordinarily complex life across the globe.

Featuring many previously unseen images, this landmark exhibition acknowledges the diverse material and spiritual cultures that make up global “civilization” today. Exploring a wide range of subjects, from our great collective achievements to our ruinous collective failings, Civilization: The Way We Live Now highlights the complexity and contradictions of contemporary civilization.

Participating photographers practising across all five continents; from Reiner Riedler’s families cavorting at leisure parks, through Raimond Wouda’s high school subculture, Wang Qingsong’s parody of insane work habits, to Lauren Greenfield’s displays of ostentatious wealth, Edward Burtynsky’s study of fragile water resources, Pablo Lopez Luz’s views on a sprawling contemporary megapolis, Thomas Struth’s vision of past civilizational glories and Xing Danwen’s electronic wastelands, Civilization draws together powerful imagery into a new, unique and challenging discourse.

A collaboration between Saatchi Gallery and the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, with curators William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell, the highly-anticipated exhibition has toured in major museums across Korea, China, Australia, New Zealand, France and Italy and includes a new selection of works curated especially for this London edition at Saatchi Gallery. In addition to the photographers with decades of experience, Civilization features the work of many in mid-career, as well as emerging talents.

As curator William A. Ewing explains, “Photographers are at work everywhere, photographing everything, using their eyes and their minds to seize telling moments in the rapid flux with sharp, vivid images. Photographers are our civilization’s eyes… Ironically, it may be that many of these photographs will last longer than the monuments and artefacts that they depict. London has always been a great centre for the celebration of photography from all corners of the globe, filled with collections, archives, museums and galleries deeply committed to the promotion of this vital art form. We curators have been privileged to benefit from many loans from these sources, and welcome Saatchi Gallery’s invitation to share the fruits of our research with a London audience.”

About the Exhibition:

The exhibition is conceived as a journey through key aspects of civilization, via eight thematic chapters: HIVE, which features photographs dealing with the concept of the urban environment, a prerequisite of all civilizations; ALONE TOGETHER which looks at social relationships; FLOW, which takes its subject to the movement of peoples, good and ideas; PERSUASION, which looks at the strategies that politicians and merchandisers employ to influence our behaviour; CONTROL, which has to do with authority and power; RUPTURE, which looks at societal breakdown and conflict; ESCAPE, which shows people searching for release from the mundane; and NEXT? which hints at the new world taking shape in the 21st Century.

The Concept in Detail

Civilization: The Way We Live Now focuses on our emerging global civilization, as it has taken shape over the early years of the 21st Century, and focuses specifically on collective behaviour and achievement, so often disguised in our time by the celebration of individuality. Civilization neither denies individualism, nor the reality of distinct cultures, rich in their own right and which may even oppose homogenizing global forces. However, our focus remains on what is shared collectively by large numbers of people, either directly as participants, or indirectly as consumers or passive observers.

This fast-emerging global civilization has made use of and absorbed the discoveries and inventions of many previous civilizations while adding a profusion of its own innovations. Our burgeoning sciences and new technologies have given us the capacity to extend human life (and destroy countless other forms) and engineer new life forms (and create huge risks, even to the possible destruction of our own species). It has the capacity to create utopias and dystopias—even, paradoxically, simultaneously. It is now projecting itself into deep space with the idea of eventually finding another home for our species.

A Portrait through Photography

Photography may also be seen in the light of a collective civilizational endeavour. Together, photographers are creating a multifaceted portrait of our time. They are busy everywhere on the surface of the globe, in every country and in every city, observing, recording, interpreting, questioning—not to mention fixing for posterity—the way we live now: where we live and how we live; how we work and how we play; how we move our bodies, our goods, and our ideas; how we collaborate and how we compete; how we make love and how we make war. We find photographers at work in banks, chambers of government, prisons, schools, and places of work of every description, each capturing some thread which goes to weave the rich texture of our civilization. The exhibition can therefore be seen as a show about civilization—or about photography—and ideally through these two lenses simultaneously.

Exhibiting Photographers:

Max Aguilera-Hellweg, Andreia Alves de Oliveira, Evan Baden, Murray Ballard, Olivo Barbieri, Mandy Barker, Lisa Barnard, Olaf Otto Becker, Valérie Belin, Daniel Berehulak, Mathieu Bernard-Reymond, Peter Bialobrzeski, Florian Böhm, Michele Borzoni, Priscilla Briggs, Paul Bulteel, Edward Burtynsky, Antony Cairns, Alejandro Cartagena, Philippe Chancel, Edmund Clark, Che Onejoon, Olivier Christinat, Lynne Cohen, Lois Conner, Raphaël Dallaporta, Sian Davey, Susan Derges, Gerco de Ruijter, Richard de Tscharner, Sergey Dolzhenko, Natan Dvir, Roger Eberhard, Mitch Epstein, Andrew Esiebo, Adam Ferguson, Vincent Fournier, Jermaine Francis, Andy Freeberg, Matthieu Gafsou, Andreas Gefeller, George Georgiou, Christoph Gielen, Ashley Gilbertson, Katy Grannan, Samuel Gratacap, Lauren Greenfield, Han Sungpil, Nick Hannes, Sean Hemmerle, Mishka Henner, South Ho Siu Nam, Candida Höfer, Dan Holdsworth, Hong Hao, Aimée Hoving, Pieter Hugo, Tiina Itkonen, Leila Jeffreys, Jo Choonman, Chris Jordan, Nadav Kander, KDK, Mike Kelley, Kim Taedong, Alfred Ko, Irene Kung, Benny Lam, Sonia Lenzi, Gjorgji Lichovski, Michael Light, Mauricio Lima, Sheng-Wen Lo, Pablo López Luz, Christian Lünig, Alex MacLean, David Maisel, Ann Mandelbaum, Edgar Martins, Jeffrey Milstein, Mintio, Richard Misrach, Andrew Moore, David Moore, Richard Mosse, Michael Najjar, Walter Niedermayr, Jason Sangik Noh, Noh Suntag, Simon Norfolk, Trent Parke, Cara Phillips, Robert Polidori, Sergey Ponomarev, Cyril Porchet, Mark Power, Giles Price, Yan Wang Preston, Reiner Riedler, Simon Roberts, Andrew Rowat, Victoria Sambunaris, Sato Shintaro, Dona Schwartz, Paul Shambroom, Chen Shaoxiong, Nigel Shafran, Toshio Shibata, Corinne Silva, Niki Simpson, Alec Soth, Jem Southam, Henrik Spohler, Will Steacy, Thomas Struth, Larry Sultan, Shigeru Takato, Eric Thayer, Danila Tkachenko, Eason Tsang Ka Wai, Andreas Tschersich, Amalia Ulman, Brian Ulrich, Penelope Umbrico, Johanna Urschel, Carlo Valsecchi, Reginald Van de Velde, Massimo Vitali, Robert Walker, Dougie Wallace, Richard Wallbank, Wang Qingsong, Patrick Weidmann, Thomas Weinberger, Damon Winter, Michael Wolf, Paolo Woods and Gabriele Galimberti, Raimond Wouda, Xing Danwen, Ahmad Zamroni, Luca Zanier, Zhang Xiao, Robert Zhao Renhui, Francesco Zizola.

CIVILIZATION: The Way We Live Now has been co-produced by the Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis/Paris/Lausanne, and the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art of Korea, in collaboration with the Saatchi Gallery, London. Previous venues of the exhibition include the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art in Seoul, South Korea; UCCA Centre for Contemporary Art, Beijing, China; the National Gallery of Victoria, Melbourne, Australia; the Auckland Art Gallery, Auckland, New Zealand; the Museum of Civilisation (Mucem), Marseille, France and the Museo San Domenico, Forlì, Italy.



For all press enquiries please contact: Georgina Greenslade gee@saatchigallery.com I Eleanor Thirlway eleanor@saatchigallery.com

Press Preview:
Thursday 1 June 2023 (10 AM – 1 PM) – RSVP Essential here.

Dates and Opening Hours
Open to the public: 2 June – 17 September 2023

10 AM – 6 PM (last admission 5 PM)

Saatchi Lates: Dates to be announced

Saatchi Gallery Members Go Free.Tickets £16; Concessions* £10; Children Under 6*, Free; Children Aged 6-16 years, £10; Family Ticket*, £38*; *T&Cs Apply. Advanced booking is strongly advised. Tickets available to book now: saatchigallery.com/ticket

Press images can be obtained via saatchigallery.com/press
By using the images, you acknowledge and accept the terms and conditions found on our website. These images can only be reproduced to illustrate a review or criticism of a work or report as defined by section 30 (i) and (ii) of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988.

Social Media
Join the discussion about the exhibition online:
Instagram: @saatchi_gallery
TikTok: @saatchi_gallery
Twitter: @saatchi_gallery
Facebook: @saatchigalleryofficial

Exhibition Credits
The exhibition is curated by William A. Ewing and Holly Roussell, assisted by Justine Chapalay. William A. Ewing is an author, lecturer, and curator of photography, and former director of the Musée de l’Elysée in Lausanne. Over the years his exhibitions have been seen in London at the Serpentine, Whitechapel, and Barbican Galleries, the Photographer’s Gallery, the Welcome Institute and Somerset House. Holly Roussell is a curator and museologist specialising in photography and contemporary art from East Asia. Currently, she is curator for the UCCA Center for Contemporary Art, Beijing. The project is directed by Todd Brandow, Executive Director, Foundation for the Exhibition of Photography, Minneapolis / Lausanne and Bartomeu Mari, Director, Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Seoul, Korea.

Exhibition Catalogue
The official Civilization book is published by Thames & Hudson and FEP Editions. In parallel with the exhibition, a major publication has been produced in a number of editions: British, American, Italian, French, German, Korean and Chinese. Hardbound and 500+ images. saatchistore.com

School Visits & Community Groups
With the generous support of all our patrons, for each major exhibition, there are opportunities for students and community groups to engage in creative projects and workshops. Visit saatchigallery.com/learning or call +44 (0) 20 7811 3087 for more details.

Since 1985, Saatchi Gallery has provided an innovative platform for contemporary art. Exhibitions have presented works by largely unseen young artists, or by international artists whose work has been rarely or never exhibited in the UK. This approach has made the Gallery one of the most recognised names in contemporary art. Since moving to its current 70,000 square feet space in the Duke of York’s Headquarters in Chelsea, London, the Gallery has welcomed over 10 million visitors. The Gallery hosts thousands of school visits annually and has over 6 million followers on social media. In 2019 Saatchi Gallery became a registered charity, beginning a new chapter in its history. www.saatchigallery.com
Registered Charity Number: 1182328
Saatchi Gallery, Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, Chelsea, London SW3 4RY

Save Your Cart
Share Your Cart
    Your Cart
    Your cart is emptyReturn to Shop

    Search the Saatchi Gallery website

    Thank you for your enquiry!

    Your message was sent and one of our Admin team will respond as soon as possible.

    If you have an urgent question, please call our front desk on 020 7811 3070.

    For more information on how we store and use your data please view our privacy policy here. You can unsubscribe from our newsletters at any time by clicking on the links below the emails we send you.

    Essential Information Before Your Visit:
    Click Plan Your Visit for full information on upcoming closures.

    Register for email updates
    Be the first to hear about the latest Saatchi Gallery exhibitions, events, offers and news