After taking pictures of Ben Johnson this morning it was a short walk to the Tate to see the new exhibition which opened on Saturday. The whole of the 2nd floor houses ‘Inverting the Map – Latin American Art from the Tate Collection’.
Quoting Gerardo Mosquera “Some writers prefer to speak of ‘art from Latin America’ instead of ‘Latin American art’… To stop being ‘Latin American art’ means to distance oneself from a simplified notion of art in Latin America and to highlight the extraordinary variety of symbolic production of the continent”
I don’t think there’s a worse sound on this planet than a barking dog but that’s what greets you as you reach the entrance to the exhibition. Its a video by Francis Alys called ‘El Gringo’ of horrible dogs in the street confronting the camera and therefore the viewer. I move on swiftly.
Seems to be a lot of political stuff here, a large group of small beds in the middle of the room has maps of Europe printed on them. Guillermo Kuitca is emphasising economic and social divisions apparently.
Pictured here is Adriana Varejao’s ‘Green Tilework in Live Flesh’ which looks like a load of bodily organs bursting out of the lacerated green tiles.
Luis Camnitzer’s ‘Leftovers 1970’ is a stack of small boxes wrapped in bloodstained bandages and there’s blood on the floor (paint really I hope) this alludes to the clandestine removal of human remains during the dictatorships.
You have to look really close at Jorge Macchi’s ‘Incidental Music’ to see that the staves on the large sheets of music score are made out of various sensationalist headlines from the British tabloids. The gaps in the staves are notes which are played on a piano which you can hear on the headphones. The same artist has a clever video on show, its just heavy traffic on a Buenos Aires motorway filmed from a bridge but as each vehicle enters the shot a note is sounded so the overall effect sounds like a musical box which is the title.
On a lighter note there is Gabriel Orozco’s forty colour photographs entitled ‘Until You Find Another Yellow Schwalbe’. The artist would ride his yellow Schwalbe motorcycle around Berlin until he found another one the same. He would then park his next to the other and photograph the couple. Some of the pictures make you go ‘ah, thats cute’.
My favourite work is Carlos Garaicoa’s sculptural installation ‘Letter to the Censors’ 2003 which highlights the destruction of numerous cinema houses in Cuba. In the middle of the room is a large wooden scale model of a fictional theatre. From above you can see the cinema area but no movie is showing and if you stoop down you can see a lot of detail inside such as pictures on the corridor walls, a grand chandelier in the foyer and hidden away in the top back room a little man working his way through the reels of film with a big pair of scissors!
There’s several more works I haven’t mentioned, all very interesting and the whole thing certainly got my old brain into gear.
Runs at Tate Liverpool until March 26th 2006. Free Entry.