09 October 2007

Structural "damage" as art form

Be it spiders or slides the central turbine hall of the Tate Britain has been home to controversial installations. Today sees the public opening of its newest installation. It’s a............................. crack in the floor

Shibboleth , by the Colombian artist Doris Salcedo, is a deep earthquake crack cut into the concrete floor underfoot. It begins just inside the entrance, as a tiny meandering crack. Gradually, as it proceeds, it opens and deepens and begins to zig-zag wildly across the floor, moving like forked lightning, with branching cracks splitting off here and there. It runs under the mezzanine, and into the rear section of the Hall, and continues to the very end, where, still going strong, it seems to disappear under the back wall. It certainly does sound like it’s a well-achieved effect. Apparently it really does look like the crack really had just appeared, overnight.

Salcedo claims the work, made elsewhere but installed over the past five weeks, took her over a year to construct. "What is important is the meaning of the piece. The making of it is not important," she said. Asked how deep the fissure goes, she replied: "It's bottomless. It's as deep as humanity."According to the artist, the piece is a statement about racism, with the crack representing the gap between white Europeans and the rest of humanity.

Wire mesh is embedded within the exposed opening, used, she said, because it is "the most common means of control used to define borders and divisions. It represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred," she said. "The space which illegal immigrants occupy is a negative space. And so this piece is a negative space."

Curator Achim Borchardt-Hume said the work aims to be an interactive experience. "It is something you should engage with close up," he said. "You have to walk the line." But perhaps not too close: Tate confirmed that staff will be on hand to warn visitors about the dangers of tripping and falling. The installation will be removed in April next year when the crack will be filled in.

Hmm what will I see when I next go to the Tate Modern? Will I see a statement on the division between white Europeans and the rest of the world or something that looks like structural damage? Knowing me I will probably see the latter.

9 comments:

The Lone Beader said...

That is interesting! I'm gonna check it out in a few weeks... And, what will you see next at the Tate Modern?? Hmmmm.... could be something made by The Lone Beader... ya neva know... LOL! :D

elasticwaistbandlady said...

I'm rolling my eyes right now and its making it hard to see to type. Wow, what an amazing contribution to helping the plight of illegal immigrants-- making giant cracks in a floor. Yes, because illegals never have a choice or free will and they're FORCED to break the laws of entry into another country. But it's not their faults, and they're not the masters of their own destiny at all.

Right.

jams o donnell said...

Enjoy LB. I hope to see a DG original there sometime, but I shuuder to think how many stitces would be involved somethig for the turbine hall!

I find it sort of interesting EWBL but on the other hand I can be a bit conservative about what art I like. An interesting installation perhaps.. I'll know when I see it myself.. as a statement? I am far, far less sure

Liz said...

I'm pretty sure I'd just see a crack. I heard about it on the radio: they haven't actually cracked the floor, have they? I couldn't understand but I suppose that's the secret of it.

I certainly don't understand Tracey Emin.

jams o donnell said...

I don't get Tracy Emin either Liz. Looking at Emin and I see someone who needs a cleaner!

Redwine said...

You will see some nice Eastern Europeans stealing. If you see something like that, don;t think for a minute you are witnessing something
illegal: it will be an installation.

I demand the statue of the EE thief. We deserve it. So do you, greedy imperialist. (My fav is the momma spider. Isn;t she cute...)

jams o donnell said...

Wouldn't that be performace art instead Red?? a statue of teh EE thief? perhaps that should be the next one for the fouth plinth at Trafalgar Square now that Alison Lapper is gone

Pisces Iscariot said...

Another victim of the crack epidemic that the 'war on drugs' has failed to stamp out.

jams o donnell said...

A Colombian making crack addicts out British art lovers?