Martin Gayford reviews the exhibition Jenny Saville: Oxyrhynchus at Gagosian Gallery, London, on view through July 26, 2014.
Gayford writes: "The new work is, as the title suggests, all about layers. In several ways this marks a departure in Saville’s work. Oxyrhynchus was an ancient Egyptian rubbish dump, a place where precious papyri survived for millennia in the sand. These pictures, though, are more about layers of bodies: different people, different poses, different moments and movements all piled on top of each other... In the past, Saville has painted the effects on the body of surgery and accidents — as if to replicate the distortions of 20th-century art, but in bleeding skin and muscle rather than fractured cubist planes. These recently completed pictures show a shift from trauma to sensuality."