What did I like at the Tate Triennial?
For me the piece that seemed the most interesting was the first that I came across, but I don’t think that’s particularly significant – it’s not that I got subsequently overwhelmed with the number of works, it’s that the rest of the pieces just didn’t interest me as much.
As you progress down the Duveen Galleries, which are a long series of classically designed top-lit spaces, reaching the full height of the building, which form a spine to the Tate Britain, you’re introduced to the Triennial with the work of Rebecca Warren and Scott Myles.
Myles’ The End of Summer is the piece, the one that interested me the most, with it’s re-presention of his encounter with Rirkrit Tiravanija’s Untitled, 2001 (no fire no ashes) (also included in the piece).
I think it’s a problem (or problematic, I suppose) when Myle’s piece neuters the crux of Tiravanija’s piece by divorcing it from it’s original context, using it as an context-lite object standing in as the distanced subject of Myles’ own piece. What meaning has the statement “Never Work” now? It’s become just an oddity against the great questioning uncertainty of Myle’s work.
Or has it? Doesn’t it force us to reassess the piece’s original actions, in the light of another person’s reaction to the piece, proposing that it succeeds or fails on the observer’s terms? From Tiravanija’s point of view it seems risky/odd to make the work try and survive without it’s original contextual meaning. And for Myles, does the Untitled, 2001 (no fire no ashes) become a permanent part of The End of Summer? If not, in what form will it live on – can it survive without without close proximity to it’s conceptual precedent?
That said, I liked the idea of the personal view of the piece and the conception of the mediated life of an artwork being presented as the art. I wasn’t really impressed with the screenprints as objects in themselves, so I cannot see them being particularly effective without the bricked up doorway.
I also really liked Nicole Wermer’s Untitled (Ashtray) and its reference to Brancusi, but as always it seemed a pity that such a potentially functional object should be accompanied with warning signs not too touch.
And what’s with using Liam Gillick‘s piece as the brand for the show? I think this adds a whole other level of meaning to the pieces that I wouldn’t have got just by seeing them in the gallery. Or is this following the appropriation theme of the show? Or is this following Gillick’s own ethos?
And why is there such a difference in the colours on the catalogue cover compared to the leaflet? Bad printing?