Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Turbine hall installation, Tate Modern

It has been raining for years now, not a day, not an hour without rain. The continual rain has had a strange effect on urban sculptures. They have started to grow like tropical plants, and become even more monumental. To stop this growth it has been decided to store them inside, among the hundreds of bunk beds which, night and day, receive refugees from the rain.
So reads a large inscription ahead of Dominique Gonzalez-Foster's turbine hall installation TH.2058 (which takes up the second, non-raked end of the building). The installation is the pod for any number of dystopian narratives, told in the text quoted above, in science fiction paperbacks placed on the aforementioned bunk beds

and in the snippets of films shown on a screen at the end of the hall.

I didn't get any sense of a dystopian world from my visit there. Whilst the uniformity of the bunk beds is consonantly stark, the re-appropriation of other artists' work is simply a fad. Indeed, even the title sounds like Geroge Lucas' own dystopian masterpiece THX1138 - which, it turns out, is one of the films being shown. As for the sculptures - well, the appeal of their living once again as plants is a comforting notion to me. The idea that this furniture gets treated in the same way as a refugee jars (this is a personal reaction).
Dominique Gonzalez-Foster's work - TH.2058 - is the ninth work in The Unilever Series. Like its predecessors it is innovative, bold and challenging.
reads the guide text. No: like it's predecessors it is large, filling the space, and that's it.

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