This is the one and only time that residents of the UK will have the opportunity to see the artist’s work and is certainly worth a visit.
The wide variety of work on display by the French-born artist, suggests a boldness and confidence in his ideas, while refusing to sell his work reveals Barande’s interest in keeping away from the commercialisation of the art world.
With all of the canvases and sculptures being unsigned,undated and untitled, Barande has ensured that those who view it can do so objectively and without worrying about what they are supposed to be seeing – a refreshing way in which to build a career in art.
The expansive space at the Saatchi Gallery is the appropriate space in which to display the artist’s work to the full, allowing visitors to stand as far back or as close to the work as possible to get a real sense of the artist’s skill and technique.
Many of the pieces require close attention, with some images being completely vague until you stand up close to it, while others work the opposite way. It is then you get a sense that Barande is a mass of contradictions, whether it is the use of bold colour and then more neutral tones or the subtlety of the detail in some canvases or the the boldness in the concept.
But perhaps it is the more subtle details that represent the artist for who he really is. For fifty years he kept his work extremely private and so his achievements still remain largely unknown in the art world to this day. Meanwhile, the subtle details, forcing viewers to stand up close to appreciate, showcase Brande’s need to disappear behind his work to protect his creativity and approach to his work.
What makes this display extra special is knowing that this will be the only time these works will be on display in the UK during his lifetime.
Meanwhile, the sculptures that are on display reflect his childhood when he lived in Tunisia and played among the ruins there and his fascination with life and death. Contrasting these with the canvases, suggests a quiet celebration between the past and the present.
Some might find that stylistically the canvases and the sculptures on display are too quiet and subtle with no real purpose or clear message that it can be hard to warm to them or in fact view them more than once. But this is still compelling to wonder around as Barande’s work is completely unique and reflective.
Henri Barande’s work is on display at the Saatchi Gallery until the 31st October. For more information visit: http://www.saatchigallery.com/current/henri_barande.php.