I do want to do something.

Upside down
October 15, 2007, 4:20 pm
Filed under: Art stuff

I liked Doris Salcedo’s  Shibboleth- a crack on the Turbine Hall floor at Tate Modern-  especially after Carsten Holler’s slides. It is somehow paradoxical. On one hand it is highly symbolic, a crack, a division, something being thorn, the earth opening up/down, cataclysmic sounds, an apocalyptic scenario, jubilatory and morbid.  It is  also at Tate Modern, one of the leading institutions in the contemporary art world, it is highly manufactured (it took more than 100  workers to realize it), designed and sculpted, a “controlled crack/opening” as my friend qualified it.  The symbolic/ controlled aspect can be even more disturbing  considering the political dimension of Salcedo’s work and what the crack stands for (“colonial and imperial history that has been disregarded, marginalised or simply obliterated…the history of racism, running parallel to the history of modernity and…its untold dark side” Doris Salcedo, text by Martin Herbert published in the Tate Modern brochure distributed to the public).

It seems dubious to me that the untold dark side of modernity could be told at Tate Modern, even glimpsed at through the inner walls of a crack…But I still liked it because of what it made people do. Look down. to the floor, bend on their knees and being attentive to the steps, putting their legs on each side of the crack, as if penetrated by a deep and invisible space. It’s not what the space stands for that was important but the horizontally of her piece and the way it could involve the viewer. Instead of sliding form top to down, going up again for some more (Maybe I’ll try the higher slide after the middle one!), people were walking in relation to a space, impenetrable, but open. A glimpse were they were not involved or even trapped in a whirling experience but rather experiencing a limitation.  A scar will remain on the Tate Modern floor (another piece of the collection?) and, again, it will stand for something, become the representation of the representative crack. Perhaps, however, people will be able to feel something under their feet.

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