Thursday, October 11, 2007

Art of the Unlikely

Tate ShibbolethI'm a big fun of unnecessarily large pieces of art (being unnecessarily large myself, I suppose), and the new installation at the Tate Modern has raised the expected questions of 'is it art?' and 'it's just a crack in the floor'. I think it's worth a peek, not too close to the edge though - even in the first day or two several people fell in... clearly performance added to installation equals publicity.

Representing the fractures in society seems a little bit too obvious, but that's why I'm not an artist. Half the fun is working our how they did it - is there a false floor, have they dug out the original Turbine Hall floor, is there actually a geological fault line running through the South Bank? You decide.

The work is called Shibboleth - this explanation is from the Tate's press release: "The word shibboleth commonly refers to a test of membership to or exclusion from a particular group or social class. Its meaning originates from an Old Testament story which describes the largest massacre recounted in The Bible. The Gileadites, having defeated the Ephraimites in battle, challenged any survivors to pronounce the word ‘shibboleth’. The Ephraimites were identified by their inability to form the discerning ‘sh’ sound and 42,000 were killed." You really didn't want to have a lisp in those days...

Doris Salcedo who created the crack did a fabulous work in Istanbul in 2003, called - excitingly - 1550 chairs - clearly drawing inspiration from the yard besides Scott's antiques in Bath Street, Margate (the picture below is the Istanbul installation, in case you've seen Scott's and can't tell the difference):

1500 Chairs in Istanbul

And whilst I'm on the subject of the Tate, "Maman" which was on the landing inside the Turbine Hall a while back is now outside - if you know an arachnophobe, this is sompletely kill or cure!

Maman at Tate

Now if we could just get the Turner Gallery debate past the shape, location and cost of the building and on to the potential excitement of the displays we might just be getting somewhere...

I feel a trip to London may be in my near future.

No comments: