Saatchi collection provides inspiring art for a new generation

SCULPTURES, installations and artworks drawn from one of the nation’s greatest contemporary art collections were on display at the newest art gallery in Ipswich last night.

The historic Ipswich Art School Gallery was opened by Ipswich MP Ben Gummer, who stepped in at short notice, replacing Suffolk artist Maggi Hambling who had been delayed by a previous engagement.

Mr Gummer praised the fact that the gallery had opened showing items from the renowned Saatchi collection, one of the nation’s leading collections of contemporary art and one which Charles Saatchi had recently bequeathed to the nation.

He said that it was important that the next generation of artists and the public in general were inspired by the works on display at the gallery. Education played a vital role, he said.

Although she was thwarted in her attempts to reach the opening, Maggi had spoken to the EADT earlier yesterday about the importance of art and the role that the gallery should play.


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“Art is a vitally important component in all our lives – food may feed our stomachs, but art feeds our soul,” she said.

The strength of the Ipswich Art School was that the tutors were also practising artists rather than professional teachers.

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The hugely influential artist Colin Moss was senior lecturer at the school for 30 years, aided by sculptor Bernard Reynolds, printmaker Glynn Thomas and artist Laurence Self.

Gallery curator Emma Roodhouse said that these men commanded respect from the naturally headstrong young artists, who frequently wanted to tear up the rule book, because they could see that their tutors practised what they preached.

“These were not academic teachers of theory, these were working practical artists, who were earning a living at their craft and they could see that it paid to pay attention to what they said.”

Maggi Hambling paid a huge tribute to the influence of the Ipswich Art School, which is described as being an outstanding centre of creativity.

She famously turned down an honorary doctorate from Suffolk College in protest at the closure of the Art School site in 1996.

Speaking earlier, she encouraged businesses and private individuals to support the fundraising campaign which aims to raise �600,000 in two years to buy the building for the town.

The gallery will host a mixture of national touring exhibitions and changing elements from the council’s own extensive 20th Century art collection which largely remains in storage.

Among guests at the opening of the Saatchi exhibits were Judy Terry, who originally set the wheels rolling on the project, Royal portrait artist and Suffolk resident Chinwe Chukwuogo-Roy, Ipswich Borough Council’s Culture portfolio holder Andrew Cann, who gave an opening address, Ipswich conservative leader Liz Harsant, Mike Sacks, provost at UCS, David Baldry, head of art at UCS and David Muller from Suffolk New College.

n Arts Editor Andrew Clarke is given a full tour of the Saatchi exhibition in Artsworld on pages 50-51.

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