22.11.2007 3:54

Last Friday I went with the rest of Zemanta's team to see the famous crack on the floor of Tate Modern gallery. Considering that I read Stephen Baxter's Moonseed recently, the timing just couldn't be better.

The gallery occupies the building of a former power station and this particular art installation is placed in its massive turbine hall.

The sheer size of the hall is impressive. You can still see some large steam pipes that were cut off at the walls. I can't stop myself thinking that this place probably looked more impressive when it was filled with machines than how it is now, serving as a gallery for modern art.

On the other hand Shibboleth (the formal name of the installation) looks equally impressive. It spans the whole length of the hall - it starts at the entrance and disappears below the far wall - and looks very realistic, down to the smallest detail. Both edges of the crevice really look like they once fit together. I haven't seen any clues on how this was made - even the hairline cracks at the edges look like they formed in the material of the floor. I expected to see some marks where they dug out a larger groove and then filled it with concrete, but now I have no idea how they managed to dig such deep and narrow grooves into the concrete floor.

The realism breaks down only when you look closely at the inner walls of the crack which are too smooth to be natural and where you can see the iron mesh that reinforces the concrete.

I failed to see how this installation addresses a long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world which is, as I learned from a sign on a wall, the message that the artist wanted to convey with her work.

Posted by Tomaž | Categories: Ideas


From Wikipedia: "It represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred. It is the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe. For example, the space which illegal immigrants occupy is a negative space. And so this piece is a negative space"

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