Andrew Salgado
The Snake

Preview: Friday 11 November (6-9pm)
Exhibition: 12 November – 17 December 2016
Participating Artist: ANDREW SALGADO (solo)

Click here to view “The Snake” short video

Beers is thrilled to present Andrew Salgado’s The Snake. Following 10 sell-out solo shows that have taken place in major cities all over the world, Salgado explains that the title refers both to his own sense of re-birth as an artist as well as the allegorical nature the show.

The 11 works on display are largely inspired by the recent Orlando massacre in Florida, which killed 49 people, making it the largest mass-murder in American history. As a gay man, Salgado subscribes to Francis Bacon’s dictum that ‘it’s not the paintings that are violent, but the world itself’, Salgado finds himself once again revisiting themes of brutality and masculinity. Salgado – himself a victim of a hate-related attack in 2008 – has often referenced broad ideas around hatred, destruction and re-birth in his work since The Misanthrope, his first solo in London with the gallery in 2012.

For the show, Salgado and Beers gallery have created a ‘Garden of Eden’ of sorts, lining the gallery with grass and painting the entire space green. Salgado claims that there’s a heart of darkness to the works, which isn’t immediately obvious. “I want people to feel like they’re walking into a clandestine space,” he states. “there’s something evil and seductive about the show as a whole.”

Arriving in the wake of Brexit and Trump as President, the works tell a story about the state of acceptance globally. “Orlando was what spurred me on to looking at the ills around the world”, says Salgado. Many of the subjects represent outsiders, each of them an alien, wounded soul, or outcast in some way, painted on canvases that have been and stitched and hand-dyed by the artist. Let’s Start A War depicts Salgado’s first ever Muslim-born subject, which is embellished with icons and symbols, including a Klu Klux Klan leader brandishing a burning cross. “We’re waking-up every morning to more race-related attacks and assaults based on sexual or religious preferences. We seem to have reached our lowest point, the deepest hatred for our neighbour, and these sentiments ricochet like some horrific echo chamber.” The resulting painting, Echo Chamber, features a portrait of Salgado’s friend, artist Sandro Kopp, which perhaps best articulates the show’s dark, seductively dizzying application, bold colour palette and reverberating brushwork.

Female subjects also figure strongly in the show, including a Egypt (The Fiddle and Drum), titled after the Joni Mitchell anti-war anthem; The Dancing Serpent, a hopeful work that Salgado places as the ‘heart’ of the exhibition titled after the Charles Baudelaire poem; and ultimately concluding with the confrontational Chysalis (Portrait of a Girl), which features Salgado’s good friend and first transgender subject. The show, from Festival to Orlando, is meant to be read as one full cycle, like the Ouroboros – an ancient Grecian symbol of a snake consuming its own tail, to symbolize something recreating itself.

In many ways, the metaphor of the snake appeals to Salgado as this symbol of re-birth and healing, as well as his own process of ‘shedding his skin’ as a painter. This is mimicked as portrait of existence, The Snake presents our collective suffering as ultimately hopeful, with the knowledge, fear and joy that comes as part of being human.

Beers will release a monograph of Andrew Salgado’s work, TEN, this December, currently available for pre-purchase at the gallery or by visiting The book will be accompanied by an exhibition at The Gallery of the Canadian High Commission in London opening 12 January 2017.


ANDREW SALGADO (b. 1982, Regina, Canada) lives and works in London, England. He graduated with an MA in Fine Art from Chelsea College of Art and Design in 2009, and a BFA from University of BC, Vancouver, in 2005. Forthcoming solo exhibitions include: ‘How to Build a Boat’, Angell Gallery, Toronto (October 2018). Selected previous solo exhibitions include: ‘Dirty Linen & The Nihilist’s Alphabet, Christopher Moller Gallery, Cape Town (2018), ‘A Room with a View of the Ocean’, Lauba Art House, Zagreb (2017); ‘TEN’, Gallery of the Canadian High Commission, London (2017); and ‘The Fool Makes a Joke at Midnight’, Thierry Goldberg, New York (2016). Salgado was the subject of the 2015 documentary ‘Storytelling’, and was featured in the 2014 publication ‘100 Painters of Tomorrow’ (Thames & Hudson). He has been featured widely in the press, including GQ, The Evening Standard, The Independent, Artsy, and Metro. Salgado’s solo showings with BEERS London include ‘Storytelling’, London (2014); and ‘The Snake’, London (2016). He curated the group show ‘The Fantasy of Representation’ at BEERS London in 2015, and was part of the group exhibitions ’75 Works on Paper’ (2017); ‘O Canada!’ (2017); and ’35 Works on Paper’ (2016).