From Selfie to Self Expression: Saatchi Gallery

Firstly, it seems appropriate that this exhibition is taking place in the self-proclaimed ‘World’s No.1 social media art gallery’. The Saatchi Gallery‘s curators have done an interesting job of tracking the phenomenon of the selfie right from its origins as the self-portrait to the modern day ‘belfie’.

Selfie and identity

A contrast of old and contemporary selfie images

It showed how important taking a selfie has become to our identities, whether that’s through collecting selfies with as many celebrities as possible or taking them in the most extreme situations for bragging rights.

Self-portraits from famous artists. The original selfie?

Interactive experience

There are a number of interactive features that make this a really fun experience. For instance, the first room features screens that display famous self-portraits from heavyweights like Picasso and Van Gogh, each one has a phone next to it with an Instagram-like page that invites you to ‘like’ the paintings.

survellience room

Under surveillance

The last room is a surveillance-style installation made entirely of screens and cameras which zoom in on visitors faces and display them on the surrounding screens. On the one hand it’s very creepy seeing your face everywhere, but on the other, it is very seductive being bombarded with images of yourself. Everyone in the space clearly loved it and stayed in the room for ages, it really proved how self-obsessed we all are.

Two members of the D&P team in the surveillence room

Aside from the fun features, it’s a thoughtful exploration of narcissism vs self-expression and poses some interesting questions about the digital age. We loved it and think it’s an absolute must-see!


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