Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Shibboleth at the Tate Modern

Mind the gap from falling into the World of Contemporary Art's trap

At the Tate Modern, a contemporary Art gallery in London England, the work of Colombian, Doris Salcedo is on display. The artist works with the formal structure of the everyday object. For instance she uses a cupboard, groups of chairs or table as an installation. They are minimalist at best, but lack an sense of interaction. At the Tate Modern, she has expanded her scope with an installation grand in size and social interaction.

It is a large concrete walkway that expands over 167 metres on the lower floor of the gallery. A work which all people encounter on everyday, yet the Tate Modern has managed to confined the experience by simply confining it in an enclosed space. Ms. Salcedo has cast a slap of concrete where a small crack runs down the centre of the piece and widens at one end.

Art goers may have the opportunity to, as with pedestrians, to walk along the sides or even investigate the flakes of concrete which separates the piece but at a distance since the opening seems large enough to spill in. This work is visually poetic, as it manages to stop people in the daily rush, and to pause where beauty can lie. It is this distinction that carries meaning to all things in a world that has become over saturated with superficial things. Simplicity and gesture can evoke an emotion. But are you loony enough to give a crack on the street the same sort of attention as in the gallery?

Pubic controversy with Art is not new to the Tate Modern, the director Nicholas Serota must be pleased over the debate regarding the value of piece to which the gallery must defend - Artwise. This is the sweet catch that aligns itself with the increase of visitors to the Gallery and people are just curious to see what the fuss is about. Hoping to be told what art should mean, rather than seeing right through it.

Readymade art, a potter's painting, no puns on art please

The work like, Ms.
Salcedo's Shibboleth exists everywhere, you just have to train yourself to see and contain it. Then you will begin to appreciate the small details in pavement's cracks, the older lady sipping coffee at the tavern or the yellow zig zag markings at the crosswalk. Once this happens, you come to realize that art was always in front of you. In time, you will appreciate the visual exhibitions of London, all contained under her grey skies, plus the few entry fee Pounds saved from not going to Art shows that serve the same.

Top: A detail of the concrete crack along the pathway. Centre: leaves naturally gathered on a porch. Below: objects as Art, a chair, the Caribbean throne
, Trinidad and Tobago.

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