- On view 2 June – 17 September 2023, tickets available to book now: saatchigallery.com/tickets
- Curated by William A. Ewing & Holly Roussell, the show offers an unprecedented look at humankind’s rapidly mutating collective life across the globe
- Consisting of over 350 original prints by 150 internationally renowned artists 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 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.
The 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.
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, Alejandro Cartagena, Philippe Chancel, Che Onejoon, Olivier Christinat, Lynne Cohen, Lois Conner, Raphaël Dallaporta, Susan Derges, Gerco de Ruijter, Richard de Tscharner, Sergey Dolzhenko, Natan Dvir, Roger Eberhard, Mitch Epstein, Andrew Esiebo, Adam Ferguson, Vincent Fournier, 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, Leila Jeffreys, Jo Choonman, Chris Jordan, Yeondoo Jung, 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, Reiner Riedler, Simon Roberts, Andrew Rowat, Victoria Sambunaris, Sato Shintaro, Dona Schwartz, Paul Shambroom, Chen Shaoxiong, Toshio Shibata, Corinne Silva, Alec Soth, 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, Cássio Vasconcellos, 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 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.
Duke of York’s HQ, King’s Rd, London SW3 4RY, United Kingdom
Saatchi Gallery announces summer exhibition, Civilization: The Way We Live Now
Event Title: The Way We Live Now
Event Description: 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.
Start date: June 2, 2023
End date: September 17, 2023
Location name: Saatchi Gallery
Address: Duke of York's HQ, King's Rd, London SW3 4RY, United Kingdom