It was great to see Jenny Saville’s work up close. Some of the pieces were over 2 1/2 metres long which in itself was impressive – there is a real energy and power to her work. There is such presence in the variety of mark making and the description of memory and movement.
Some work looked as if there was an oil stain brushed in large sweeping movements over the canvas in very pale paint before the charcoal was applied. This then looked as though it was smudged or the intensity removed, then pastel applied then final layers of line drawing and detail in charcoal. Again, as with my thoughts about Luc Tuyman’s work, the intensity of the pieces I saw here were amplified because of the layering.
There was also something slightly uncanny in the images as it was hard to experience them without seeing them at points as a jumble of bodies. Questions of why they were there, who they were, was it an illusion, was it just one body in many poses or many bodies in one? It felt unsettling not being able to answer these questions, and yet the inconclusive nature of this meant I looked all the harder.