22 May 2014
The ‘Pangaea’ exhibition, running until 2nd November, offers visitors a variety of mixed media paintings and sculpture from Africa and Latin America. Jessie Woodward offers a review of access within the gallery
The Saatchi Gallery is well lit with spacious rooms and high ceilings making it generally very accessible, however, only once you have made it past the small step at the entrance. A VSA will be able to provide a ramp if required. Visiting early morning during the week is a perfect time to avoid the crowds.
Overall the floor surfaces in the exhibition rooms were smooth with no trip hazards by the doorways. The signage navigating you round the exhibition is ok, but the room numbers are mainly displayed at quite a height. Overall, the works are well-spaced with enough room for wheelchair users to manoeuver between and around them.
The exhibition continues over two levels with the lift being well sign posted. There is also a mezzanine level, with a balcony, where you can look down into one of the rooms where a piece takes over the whole space. Every wall is covered in hessian sacks making it very dark. An accessible toilet can be found on this mezzanine level.
A few things worth noting
- The 1st room you enter is home to just one piece of work - giant floor to ceiling, multiple mixed media ants! This is a high impact piece enticing you through the rest of the exhibition. If you have a creepy crawly fear I would suggest going round a different way, but bear in mind it is not easily avoided.
- In the 3rd room there is a sculpture piece made out of sheets of glass, which is not protected from barriers. It is placed in the centre of the room, looking very fragile and precarious.
- In room 5 there are a couple of 2D works resting on objects that jut out from the wall. If you are getting close to the works be aware of these causing a trip hazard.
- In room 6 you need to be particularly cautious of works on the floor. One piece incorporates footballs placed in random positions towards one end of the room. Also two other pieces in this room are on the floor without any barriers. I would suggest keeping to the right of the room when going through if you have a visual impairment as the contrast between the floor and pieces of art work are not obvious.
- Audio guides are not available.
- Guides are available at a small cost, (£1) No large print versions are available.
Overall I enjoyed the exhibition with a several sculptural and installation pieces breaking up the majority of 2D works. I love the combination of mixed media pieces and varied use of print making, painting and collage.