SELFIE TO SELF-EXPRESSION, AN INNOVATIVE EXHIBITION BY SAATCHI GALLERY:
Huawei recently unveiled its newest smartphone, the Huawei P10, which was given an 87 rating out of 100 from renowned camera tester DxOMark. With a 5.1-inch display (and 5.5.-inch for the Plus model), Huawei means to bring serious competition to other flagship Android devices. Its camera in particular makes it stand out.
Huawei Mobile has partnered with the Saatchi Gallery for a unique exhibition exploring self-portraits – a culture in its own right dating back centuries that has truly blossomed since the invention of the smartphone camera. The Huawei P10 has taken centre stage for this event, thanks to its impressive twin-lens Leica camera.
“Selfie to Self-Expression” is set to take over an entire floor of the Saatchi Gallery from 31st March until 30th May this year, and it will explore the history of the selfie from Velasquez to the present day. The event celebrates the truly creative potential of a form of expression that has often been a victim of derision for its inanity – and in order to bring said potential into focus, Huawei Mobile and Saatchi Gallery have asked seven contemporary artists to contribute to the exhibition.
Among the artists selected for “Selfie to Self-Expression” is renowned British light artist Chris Levine, creator of the iconic Equanimity portrait of Queen Elizabeth II, among others. A titan of artistic portraiture through unique lighting artifices, Mr Levine has given the world superb images of highly influential people such as the Dalai Lama, Grace Jones and Kate Moss. As expected, he welcomed the challenge of the Huawei P10.
Showing alongside examples of many influential artists’ works of self-portraiture will be excerpts of photography executed by Mr Levine with the P10 – portraits and selfies alike, which will be exhibited in the company of selfies that have quickly become icons of the digital era, from the beautiful and inspiring to the mad and dangerous.
Mr Levine’s recent portraits were first exhibited at the Metronom Gallery in Barcelona, during the official launch of the Huawei P10 at the Mobile World Congress, where the Chinese company showcased its new smartphone’s camera prowess. The impact was so powerful that the Saatchi Gallery further explored the selfie concept by teaming up with Huawei Mobile for the “Selfie to Self-Expression” exhibition.
Chris Levine’s work revolves around stunning portraiture, reason for which one might think that the same could not be expected from a smartphone. However, during an interview with Shiny Shiny, Mr Levine explained that his work is about light and he uses cameras if he’s making images.
“Light is the raw data of image,” said the artist. “The beauty of the Huawei smartphone is that images are taken through a proper lens system. If you look around the work here at the gallery, there are some really nice pictures. When you consider they are all shot on a phone, it’s pretty amazing”.
According to the artist, when doing portraits with a smartphone, there are two stages to go through. First is, of course, capturing the image, followed by a multitude of editing options offered by the P10. In fact, a core prerequisite for the artists involved in this Huawei-Saatchi collaboration was to not manipulate any images with external software like Photoshop.
It all had to be done entirely on the P10. The results were not just surprising, but stunning altogether, as Mr Levine presented a series of images that come alive on their own. Many feature his signature eyes-closed pose – proof that stillness and serenity can be expressed eloquently through a smartphone camera as well.
For a light artist like Chris Levine, however, the experimentation phase with the Huawei P10 didn’t end there. He proceeded to capture light in its pure forms on camera, and the imagery produced speaks for itself – colourful, ethereal and transcending.
Most importantly, technology in general plays an important part in Mr Levine’s art. “But the key is to get a soulful connection because with too much technology you can lose the soul,” said the artist during the same interview.
It all just brings everything full-circle to the “Selfie to Self-Expression” exhibition, where the Saatchi Gallery brings in tech giant Huawei’s P10 and the concept of “selfie” into a meaningful conversation with the viewer – about photography, about self-portraiture, about expression and the immortalisation of our otherwise ephemeral existence.
You can find out more about Chris Levine and his incredible art by visiting his official website. Visit Huawei Mobile for more details about the P10 and discover the #SaatchiSelfie competition currently associated with the “Selfie to Self-Expression” exhibition at Saatchi Gallery.
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