Sunday, 22 February 2009

HOT: Altermodern, Tate Britain, Millbank London SW1P 4RG

Brek had told me to give Altermodern a miss - I think boring was the term used for the Tate's triennial exhibition of modern British art. While admittedly some of the works weren't new or interesting, in general I have to disagree. I don't know what made the art particularly British (as opposed to American, or Western European) but I really liked some of the more conceptual works in the exhibition:
  • Walead Beshty Fedex Large Kraft Boxes. Mel was incredulous 'You mean the one with all smashed glass boxes???'. Maybe because I was in the midst of packing hell myself, but the identical glass boxes, damaged and chipped as they were sent by Fedex from country to country, aptly reflected the anxiety and general state of fragility I was experiencing through uprooting my life and moving countries (again).
  • Loris Greaud Tremors Where Forever. The brainwaves of intense thought transformed into physical vibrations eminating from a dangled octopus of white wires. Wow.
  • Simon Starling Three White Desks. The physical embodiment of Chinese Whispers. A Berlin cabinet maker was given a photograph of a desk and asked to rebuild it. A Sydney cabinet maker was given a photograph of the Berlin desk and asked to rebuild it. Finally, a London cabinet maker was given a photograph of the Sydney desk and asked to rebuild it. Again, maybe it was because I was also in a state of transition in my life, but the outwardly similar, but on closer inspection, slightly different, white desks spoke to me about the issues of immigration, other-ness and assimilation.
  • Subodh Gupta Line of Control. I had originally thought that this enormous sculpture was of a metal tree, but in fact it was pots and pans and other metal household objects forming a giant mushroom cloud. The exhibition guide said that it represented 'a world constantly being lost or destroyed, only to emerge anew, reconfigured and reconstructed from its own debris'. My interpretation was more prosaic - a sculpture warning of the everyday, ordinary-life impact of a nuclear bomb.

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