Champagne at the Saatchi Gallery


Ljubica, by Jelena Bulajic, mixed media on canvas (2012)

So on Sunday, before the rain and wind sets in, Jonah heads up to the King’s Road, to the Saatchi Gallery, located in part of the barracks where the Grand Old Duke of York kept his ten thousand men. The sound of marching has long faded, and all is quiet but for the gentle footfall of Londoners and tourists on gravel as they make their way in to see Champagne Life, the latest exhibition, which runs until 9 March. And believe me, this presentation of artwork by female artists from around the world is well worth seeing. There are a couple of inspired exhibits by Alice Anderson whom we visited at the end of last year in the Wellcome Foundation up in Euston. Equally, the refreshingly intriguing canvases by Florida-born Suzanne McClelland, are not to be missed.

Then there is the Serbian artist, Jelena Bulajic. Born in Vrbas, Serbia, in 1990, Bulajic lives between London and Serbia. The selection of her portraits in mixed media on canvas are truly mesmerising. According to the gallery blurb:

The human face, with all its softness, contortions, wrinkles and sags, is the subject matter of Jelena Bulajics’ minutely accurate paintings. Each canvas is filled with the faces of people she spots in the street, or encounters in daily life, whose character, look, or empathy catch her interest.

What is staggering about Bujalic’s work is its gigantic scale. The portrait illustrated, for example, measures 2.7 x 2 metres, and yet the detail is absolutely minute and meticulous. Saatchi’s policy of not roping off exhibits or placing them under glass allows visitors to get really close to paintings and appreciate the beauty of the artists’ techniques, which in the case of Bulajic, is of a standard of execution that Titian might have envied. Sensational.



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