I went to London this weekend and went to the Tate Modern and National Gallery for the first time as well as seeing the Christmas lights and many Chistmassy things among the mad business! There were some really interesting exhibitions on at the Tate including a massive film installation by Tacita Dean, documentary photography and interactive exhibitions.
The work by Tacita Dean as part of 'The Unilever Series' was a giant 13 m tall portrait projection displayed in the Turbine Hall, using 35 mm film which she had experimented with, chopped up and taped back together, added colour to, rewound amound other things. There was a short film on one of the upstairs floors about what she had done which was really interesting. She wanted to make a portrait film without actually uses images of people as we typically know portraits as. I found this short film interview with her really interesting as it gave more of an insight into what she had done and how she had done it. When I saw the giant projection again later on in the day I had more of an appreciation of the concept behind it. It was fascintating to see the way she worked and developed this idea, seeing the process she went through, working vigorously on her own for hours. The experimentation with the film in the chopping up and reordering meant that she did not always have a plan of what she was going to do, this made it more exciting as she did not have a set plan she had to stick to. In the interview she talked about how she often gets accused as being nostalgic for using 35mm film as appose to digital. Although she says, 'Keep film and digital as two seperate medias. I am not nostagic as what I am doing is of now. Nostalgia is when people look back to a better time, I get accused of being nostalgic a lot but I'm not'
To my excitement as well, one of my favourite illustrators Sara Fanelli had her timeline on display in the Tate which I did know about but it had not entered my mind until I was there! There was also lots of interactive activities surrounding the timeline with her input in them including a post a postcard activity where you could add art periods/movements to the timeline that may have been missed. There were also virtual screens where you were able to tour some of the time periods in Art including Pop Art.
Photography; New Documentary Forms
This exhibition 'includes recent work by Luc Delahaye, Mitch Epstein, Guy Tillim and Akram Zaatari, as well as two important earlier works by Boris Mikhailov. Between them they cover subjects as diverse as the conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, studio photography in Beirut, elections in the Congo, everyday life in pre- and post-Soviet Ukraine, and power production in the United States. Each room concerns one discrete project, in which the artist calls into question the relationship between the documentary value of photography and the museum as its proper context.'
Boris Mikhailov photographs Ukraine through the time of Communism and the Soviet Union. Some of the images were shocking and revealing of this complicated time, I found the photographs very interesting as there were many contrasting images within them. For example, the photograph below second from the top on the left of the soldier holding a pink flower. The soldier is a sign of war, conflict, power in his uniform yet he is holding a pink flower and smiling at the camera, seeming soft, a total contrast in the reality of what may be happening seconds after the photo is captured.
Guy Tillim captures events in The Congo around the time of election in 2006. He captures a time of conflict of unrest in a time of social and political change.