Friday 28 December 2012

A Bigger Splash - the second part

In the second part of  the exhibition A Bigger Splash at Tate Modern, each room is devoted to a single contemporary artist or group, the work having been selected as a way of considering the impact of experiments in performance, theatricality and masquerade on expanded approaches to painting from the late 70s to the present day.

Room 6, Edward Krasinski

The Polish artist Edward Krasinski applied a line of blue tape at a fixed height to the walls of his studio and living quarters. This single continuous line linked the paintings on the wall to the elements of his everyday life, but also demarcated the area from the outside world. He described it as 'blue scotch adhesive tape. I stick it horizontally 130 cm above ground, everywhere and on everything. I wrap it around everything, reach everything. It is art or it isn't. But the blue scotch adhesive tape is certainly there: 10cm wide and of unknown length...'
Untitled, 2001
An installation consisting of 12 suspended mirrors, with a single strip of tape across them. The rows of reflective surfaces generate a sensation in which space seems to recede and advance.
The viewer is drawn into this play of reflected images, highlighting the dependency between spectator, object and gallery environment.
Room 7, Marc Camille Chaimowicz
Chaimowicz's work dissolves the boundaries between fine and applied art, and between installation and performance. In 'Jean Cocteau...'  he has devised an imaginary construction of the French artist Jean Cocteau's bedroom.
Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Jean Cocteau... 2003-12
There is no attempt at historical accuracy: instead, Chimowicz describes the work as a 'furnished interior that obliquely references his poetics'.  It includes artists that Cocteau might conceivably have admired, such as Duncan Grant and Edouard Vuillard, as well as works by more modern figures such as Andy Warhol and Wolfgang Tillmans that were made long after Cocteau's death in 1963.
Room 8, Joan Jonas
A pioneer of performance and video art in the late 1960s Joan Jonas is one of the most significant feminist artists of her generation. Her work has always moved back and forth between traditional and new media.
Joan Jonas, The Juniper Tree, 1976-1994
With The Juniper Tree, Jonas began to incorporate fairytales and folklore into her work, turning away from the camera toward a more painterly, narrative and text-based practice.
The Juniper Tree is based on one of the stories by the Brothers Grimm, in which a boy 'as red as blood and white as snow' is murdered by his wicked stepmother, then cooked and fed to his father. He is reincarnated as a songbird and takes his revenge.
The installation incorporates props, masks and a series of acrylic paintings on cloth that were made during performances. The masks and kimono suggest the influence of different modes of theatrical presentation, movement and dance on Jonas's practice, including Japanese theatre and Chinese opera. The juniper tree itself, beneath which the boy's bones are buried, is represented by a ladder, described by the artist as 'a shamanic representation of a magic tree, ladders to the sky'.
Room 9, Karen Kilimnik
The combination of the real and the imagined is central to the work of Karen Kilimnik.
Karen Kilimnik, Swan Lake, 1992 
In Swan Lake Kilmnik employs dry ice, fake snow, spotlights and music to summon the emotionally charged blend of artifice and melodrama associated with Russian ballet at the end of the 19th century. However, the encloseed setting does not suggest an actual theatrical set so much as evoking an obsessive, dream-like reverie, a psychological space infused with nostalgia and adolescent yearning.
Room 13, Lucky McKenzie
Lucy McKenzie's paintings draw upon trompe d'oiel techniques rooted in 19th century European artisan tradition.
Lucy McKenzie, Kensington 2246, 2010
These paintings  relate to Muriel Spark's 1963 novella The Girls of Slender Means which documents the lives of the respectable yet impecunious young women living in the May of Teck Club situated in post-war Kensington. The club occupies a traditional town house, now divided into dormitories and small private rooms to house the single women. The paintings at once create a space that the viewer might inhabit and represent a traditional form of painting that invokes illusional representation.

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