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Chess at the Saatchi

List of internationally renowned artists create specially made chess sets for new London gallery show


Chess, and the checkered board on which it's played, has been an unlikely source of inspiration for a wealth of artists over the years. Carracci, Matisse and Klee all created works about it; Duchamp was obsessed by it; and writers Vladimir Nabokov and Kurt Vonnegut centered literary characters on individuals who played it.

Now, London's Saatchi Gallery, in collaboration with RS&A, is bringing together 16 different chess sets specially designed by some of contemporary art's leading lights. 

British artist Whiteread has apparently "pursued her love of dollhouses" to create a set wrought with nostalgia and sentimentality. Barbara Kruger has created a set that talks. "Each piece [is] specially programmed to either ask a question or make a statement when moved," the Saatchi reveal. And there are others, by Damien Hirst, Jake and Dinos Chapman, Maurizio Cattelan and Paul McCarthy, who's used reappropriated everyday kitchen objects as the various pieces. You may not get to actually have a game, but this looks like an exhibition not to miss.

The Art of Chess will open on September 8, and will continue until October 3.


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