There is a theme of death around the world of Saatchi at the moment, but in a positive and witty way. Kevin Roberts, Chairman of the advertising firm Saatchi & Saatchi has been promoting his thesis that “Marketing is dead. Strategy is dead. Management is dead”, reported in the Guardian earlier this year, but also announced in 2012 at an international fair in Cannes.
He explains that business is now all about creating a “movement” of people with shared values: “You do that by figuring out how you add mystery, sensuality and intimacy to a brand … Sensuality: we feel the world in five senses. Whether you like this room or not, [the architect] Antonio Citterio designed it and all five senses are at work in here. I mean, people want to lick this table.”
Charles Saatchi has recently published his book “DEAD, A Celebration of Mortality” containing 52 essays exploring the inevitability of death from different perspectives including the Russian mafia, snake eating spiders, Attila the Hun, The Wild West, poisons, curses, near-death experiences and, cheerily, premature burials, and now the Saatchi Gallery has opened its latest exhibition on the same subject with a number of artists commenting on death from a variety of different angles including a suitcase bomb that will cause death, the anticipation of death by suicide from a window, the white-bleached remains of buildings after a terrible destruction, images of some of the perpetrators of death, death from vehicle crashes and a column made from dead rats (don’t worry they are not real).
An exhibition which plays to our fascination with death, appropriately located on the top floor which provides the atmosphere of a warehouse with the old roof-trusses, more appropriate to death than the more polished galleries downstairs and the sort of place where you would expect to find dead bodies piled in a corner. For full appreciation, it is an exhibition that probably needs to be viewed in conjunction with Saatchi’s book.