Curated by Dr Sook-Kyung Lee, Exhibitions & Displays Curator, Tate Liverpool.
Thresholds houses work from a variety of contemporaries. But through this, Tate also includes itself within the questions and boundaries as Host for Art, and all that come into contact with creativity. Tate explores the meaning of Art within the Gallery space, openly inviting people to come in and share in this. It also plays with the perpetual fluctuations of guest /host /medium, relationship and position within the city for its guests and with artists and the art work housed and displayed. The art itself can become the Host, with the Gallery space allowing the public to be there and becoming Guest. In areas of Autonomy and open spaces, the gallery (and that is any gallery) can become invisible once the Guest has an encounter with the Art. There are multiple dimensions within galleries that have always captured me. That faint sound of a video piece playing in the background, the dozens of worlds that you enter into during an interaction with the works. The allure and surreal qualities are created from the off, from superb juxtapositions and curation, whilst the dialect between the work plays out, the visitor becomes a part, not only of the art (the age old story), but of the space.
On entrance to the Gallery, visitors hear the sound of the British national anthem playing. This leads you in to the four screens playing what seems at first to be the same scenes on loop. On closer inspection, each screen IS actually playing the same scene, within the repetition of performance by the Royal family through procedures, with precise choreography, that underpins the entire procession, only repeated on different days. The differences (apart from a few different words from the commentary script), the clothing and a few glitches here and there. Mark Wallingers Royal Ascot (1994) highlights the absurdity of ritualistic traditions based on crude dysfunctions within our own society.
‘WE WANT STRONG LEADERSHIP’ (2004) and ‘WE WANT TO NUTURE AND PROTECT’ (2004), by Mark Titchner are powerful and all encompassing posters. Reflected from Mark Wallingers ‘Royal Ascot’, this dialect between the two pieces plays against each other perfectly, asking questions about what is real and what is portrayed. Along the back wall, there are paintings, adding to the diversity of the exhibition. Another work by Mark Wallinger, a large hyper realistic painting of two halves of a horse, adds further layers to his Royal Ascot. Half Brother (Exit to Nowhere – Machiavellian) 1994-5, talks about hybrid racehorses and the whole business, over money and beauty, sex and race. As well as the insight to traditions of breeding, I am particularly serious about this work, in relation to the visitors, as many people only know Mark Wallinger as a conceptual performance artist, winning the Turner prize in 2007 dressed in a bear suit with protest banners. When people question conceptual performance/ super modern work in the contemporary world, I argue that it can reveal the story/history of an artist, and their other abilities, contrary to those who champion traditional painting, drawing, sculpture as ‘real ‘ art.
There is a lot of fantastic work in Thresholds. I have just spoken of a few here. From paintings by George Shaw, photography social documentation with Simryn Gill, drawings from William Kentridge, an installation/sculptural piece from Thomas Hirschorn, video by Yael Bartana, collage work with Layla Curtis, video installation by Peter Fischli, and many many more exciting work that you can experience and remember.