A swirling crowd of 140 figures currently fills the Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain. People, animals, skeletons and gods wave banners, beat drums and dance – all dressed in dazzling gowns, sharp suits, funeral robes and flowing cloaks adorned with stars, medals and jewels, photographs and colonial banknotes. In Hew Locke’s The Procession, Britain’s past ‘walks into the future’ in an installation that addresses themes of globalisation, migration and belonging.
The enduring power of place animates this issue of Tate Etc. As Locke has commented, the setting of his installation at Tate Britain is significant because ‘it makes links with the historical after-effects of the sugar business, almost drawing out of the walls of the building’.
Place as inspiration, as material, as a subject, and as a site of action, freedom and rebellion is at the core of an expansive exhibition at Tate Liverpool this summer, Radical Landscapes, which moves beyond bucolic representations of Britain’s ‘green and pleasant land’ to show the countryside, past and present, as a contested and active space.
In Ad Minoliti’s immersive exhibition at Tate St Ives and Martha Rosler’s photography display at Tate Modern, the politics of identity and how they intersect with place are vital. For Minoliti, ‘landscape can open up a spectrum of possibilities and interpretations’, while for Rosler, it is airports – those ‘deeply forgettable’ but necessary spaces – that offer a way for us to think about society today.
Our central article in this summer issue is dedicated to artist Cornelia Parker, whose retrospective exhibition at Tate Britain celebrates a career dedicated to ‘revisualising the world, creating images that disturb and startle, that fill the air around them with what has been newly imagined’. As writer Colm Toíbín states: ‘She seeks to see things differently, to rearrange.’
Similarly, Yayoi Kusama’s Obliteration Room at Tate Modern will invite you to reimagine a space within the Turbine Hall, giving everyone the chance to encounter the world as Kusama herself does.