diamond geezer

 Wednesday, October 05, 2016

Philippe Parreno: Anywhen
Tate Modern (4 October 2016 – 2 April 2017)



Artists have been filling the Turbine Hall annually since 2000, and the good news is that this year's is better than last. Not difficult. French avant-garde artist Philippe Parreno has constructed what's perhaps best described as "an experience", combining sound and light and film, and things that go up and down. The most obvious of these is a set of ten large white screens, one large and used for projection, and the remainder capable of being lowered to create a makeshift cinema - three for the roof and three for each wall. Most of the time they're not a cinema, however, they rise and fall looking like they're going to do something and then withdraw, or rearrange themselves into geometrical patterns, or hide in the roofspace out of the way. There are also dozens of small loudspeakers on cables which occasionally descend en masse, plus one large one which sometimes comes down and plays classical music.

If it all sounds random then it's meant to be - a chain of events and activities coordinated elsewhere, supposedly according to the proclivities of a vat of yeast at the end of the hall. What happens next might be the lights flashing, or an impromptu thunderstorm, or commentary on a schoolkids' football match, or whatever. Apparently the sequence of events changes throughout the day, so a late afternoon visit is different to a morning one, and there'll also be some evolution as the six months play out. I hung around for an hour and I doubt I saw the entire range of activities, nor did anything repeat, not to say that the entire hour was a satisfying sequence of uncompromising variety, but it was agreeable enough.



I'd been there half an hour before the long-anticipated film moment kicked in, the signal for this being the lowering of the screens to their fullest extent. Many of the audience were sprawled out on the floor watching the aerial ballet, and you could sense growing disquiet as the walls came down without indicating whether they'd stop. It transpired you could still have sat (but not stood) beneath the two outer walls, but the main screen would have thwacked you unless you were lying flat on your back, and a member of staff was watching carefully to make sure that no harm was caused to the oblivious. The installation's big film features ventriloquist Nina Conti reading a speech, not that you can tell, and several close-ups of a squid. I was impressed that most viewers stuck it out for the full twenty minutes, but it appears that most young people can sit through anything when they have a smartphone in their hand.

And then there are the helium fish. This is Parreno's masterstroke, an excellent way to fill the Turbine Hall's cavernous space with something simple, charming and erratic. They float and bob, often low enough that it's possible to touch them, particularly if they've not been freshly filled. Small children in particular are keen to grab hold, seeing each fish as a trophy rather than as art, and parents sometimes have to encourage their offspring to let go and tap them back up. Another issue is that the Turbine Hall isn't a smooth box, so the fish don't always make it back down. I spotted three trapped high in the gantry, and four more on a ledge above the education rooms, stranded and going nowhere. Occasionally a member of staff emerged from the office at the back and batted a newly-pumped fish into the arena, but most of the time only two were airborne, and this just isn't enough. Beats last year's by miles, though.
[Unmissable - The Guardian ★★★★★] [Dull - The Times ★★☆☆☆]


<< click for Newer posts

click for Older Posts >>


click to return to the main page


...or read more in my monthly archives
Jan17  Feb17  Mar17  Apr17  May17  Jun17  Jul17  Aug17  Sep17  Oct17  Nov17
Jan16  Feb16  Mar16  Apr16  May16  Jun16  Jul16  Aug16  Sep16  Oct16  Nov16  Dec16
Jan15  Feb15  Mar15  Apr15  May15  Jun15  Jul15  Aug15  Sep15  Oct15  Nov15  Dec15
Jan14  Feb14  Mar14  Apr14  May14  Jun14  Jul14  Aug14  Sep14  Oct14  Nov14  Dec14
Jan13  Feb13  Mar13  Apr13  May13  Jun13  Jul13  Aug13  Sep13  Oct13  Nov13  Dec13
Jan12  Feb12  Mar12  Apr12  May12  Jun12  Jul12  Aug12  Sep12  Oct12  Nov12  Dec12
Jan11  Feb11  Mar11  Apr11  May11  Jun11  Jul11  Aug11  Sep11  Oct11  Nov11  Dec11
Jan10  Feb10  Mar10  Apr10  May10  Jun10  Jul10  Aug10  Sep10  Oct10  Nov10  Dec10 
Jan09  Feb09  Mar09  Apr09  May09  Jun09  Jul09  Aug09  Sep09  Oct09  Nov09  Dec09
Jan08  Feb08  Mar08  Apr08  May08  Jun08  Jul08  Aug08  Sep08  Oct08  Nov08  Dec08
Jan07  Feb07  Mar07  Apr07  May07  Jun07  Jul07  Aug07  Sep07  Oct07  Nov07  Dec07
Jan06  Feb06  Mar06  Apr06  May06  Jun06  Jul06  Aug06  Sep06  Oct06  Nov06  Dec06
Jan05  Feb05  Mar05  Apr05  May05  Jun05  Jul05  Aug05  Sep05  Oct05  Nov05  Dec05
Jan04  Feb04  Mar04  Apr04  May04  Jun04  Jul04  Aug04  Sep04  Oct04  Nov04  Dec04
Jan03  Feb03  Mar03  Apr03  May03  Jun03  Jul03  Aug03  Sep03  Oct03  Nov03  Dec03
 Jan02  Feb02  Mar02  Apr02  May02  Jun02  Jul02 Aug02  Sep02  Oct02  Nov02  Dec02 

eXTReMe Tracker
jack of diamonds
Life viewed from London E3

» email me
» follow me on twitter
» follow the blog on Twitter
» follow the blog on RSS

my flickr photostream