Sunday 13 November 2016

Living cities at Tate Modern

Living Cities, the George Economou Gallery, Tate Modern.

The display in the George Economou Gallery includes artists from all over the world, making parallels and exploring differences between the cities in which they find themselves. The diverse selection of materials reflects the many different locations and cultural contexts in which these artists are working.

Marwan Rechmaoui, Beirut Caoutchouc, 2004-08 (rubber)

Beirut Cautchouc is a precisely detailed map of Beirut embossed into rubbers. Visitors were permitted to walk over the floor-based map, engaging with the artist's representation of a city which has historically shown great resilience in the face of earthquake, fire and war. Rechmaoui, who was born and works in the city, has said: 'For me architecture is a very clear expression of urban life... It's a way to talk about demography, migration and behaviours. The link through all my work is the history of this place and how it moves'.

Kader Aftia, Untitled (Ghardaia), 2009, (cooked couscous on wooden table)

A model made entirely of couscous of the ancient Algerian city of Ghardaia.

looking closer

Julie Mehretu, Mogamma, A Painting in Four Parts: Part 3, 2012 (ink and acrylic paint on canvas)

The Mogamma is the government building in Tahrir Square in Cairo, which formed a backdrop for the protests against Hosni Mubarak's regime in early 2011. Mehretu has overlaid architectural drawings of the Mogamma with those of other locations associated with public unrest, including Addis Ababa's Meskel Square and New York's Zuccoti Park, the site of the Occupy protests. Using digital images and projecting them onto the surface of the canvas, Mehretu complicates the drawn plans so that we can no longer see them clearly. The resulting painting is a memorial to collective sites of communal resistance.

looking closer.

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