Tate Triennial shocker
One of the first things Tate Britain did on seceding from Tate Modern was to instigate a Triennial of British art, which started with Intelligence, was followed by Days Like These, and has hit a new low now with the unimaginatively-titled “Tate Triennial”. Inviting Swiss curator Beatrix Ruff (Kunsthalle Zurich) to make the selection was an interesting idea, and has certainly led to a different and unpredictable range of artists. But my spies tell me that the Swiss fag-hag allowed Cerith Wyn Evans to make more than a few suggestions, and he should perhaps receive a credit as co-curator.
The wide intergenerational range of the show, and the way the galleries have been opened up to form a huge space (as during Inagaddadavida) are both good ideas. But that’s where the good ideas stop. This show is terrible. Where to start? Angela Bulloch’s bonkers installation of string and disco lights (see above) shows how all those drugs have taken their toll at last. Liam Gillick, who has a contract stipulating that he must be included in all shows put on at the Tate, contributes yet another unreadable text piece (see my comments on unreadable text in the Kosuth review below). Daria Martin (Hackney’s Matthew Barney) shows her terrible new film which articles in both Frieze and Untitled somehow failed to mention is silly, sloppy and pretentious all at the same time. There is Cosey Fanni Tutti without Genesis P Orridge (some tabloid-pleasing porn mags), Payne & Relph (no comment necessary) and for some reason even three poetry pillars shipped in by old man Hamilton Finlay. It’s a totally mad selection.
Ryan Gander doesn’t cope with the institutional scale well, his modest bale of newspapers would work in a smaller gallery but here looks mannered in the extreme. His wall of faded cork titles also elicited a “?” from this viewer. Several artists like Eva Rothschild, Lucy McKenzie & Jonathan Monk are given space to show just one work, which doesn’t really do much to illuminate their practices, and poor old Enrico David is relegated to the walls of the shop (actually, probably a good idea, considering). I like Rebecca Warren’s stuff but classically, the Tate in its infinite wisdom has decided to show her work inside perspex cases which totally spoils the effect. Adrian Searle wrote a comprehensive autopsy of this show in the Guardian, with particular vitriol reserved for the curator’s explanatory blurbs which are I must admit, spectacular in this instance, and I would agree with him wholeheartedly. Apart from Marc Camille Chamowicz, who actually shows a piece from 1979, this entire exhibition is painful, frustrating, pretentious, annoying, wilfully obscure and plain bloody stupid. But hey, at least admission is free.