Art Works, Place, Tacita Dean & Jeremy Millar

Art Works Place

Tacita Dean and Jeremy Millar, (2005) Art Works, Place, London, Thames & Hudson, ISBN:0-500-93007-4.

I purchased this book after my Tutor told me about it and gave me a PDF sample of the introduction.

This is a book produced to document examples of exhibited art that has used the idea or sense of place as a theme to landscape photographs by the artists. The book begins with a critical look at the idea of ‘place’ and ends with a discussion by Tacita Dean, Joseph L Koermer, Jeremy Millar and Simon Schama about their ideas of what is and what constitutes a place.

Urban – Looks at photo expressions of the urban world from an abandoned supermarket trolly to a block of flats; a street scene in Shanghai to a the hovel of a shanti-town, West Java.

Nature – Influences of our natural world, using materials taken from the landscape to create new landscape art and looking at work that suggests becoming landscape.

Fantastic – Examples: Remote Viewer – The artist visits different locations and a remote viewer attempts to draw what he or she believes the artist is looking at at that moment. Better Scenery a series of large signs are placed in a location around the world providing directions to another sign in order to invite the viewer to both imagine the other location and also how to describe their own location.

Myth / History –  Example crop circles produced as an expression of art and creation of myth, a Hollywood sign on a hillside in Sicily.  Looking at the ancient forest of Bialowiza as an ancient surviving landscape and a place of identity for nations.

Politics / Control – Reconstruction of coal miners riot, redevelopment of Berlin after the reunification, remembering past state directed atrocities.

Territories – An exploration of ideas of national identity, borders, belonging.  – Ross Sinclair (2000) Real Life, produced a mural painted on the side of a building that both parodied and harked back to the murals painted on building in Communist Germany and that were now disappearing and being replace by capitalistic advertising.  The mural read “Real Life…and how to live it. GEOGRAPHY. 1 – Burn your Passport. 2. Ignore Continents. 3. Embrace statelessness. 4. Renounce Citizenship. 5. Explode borders. 6. Annihilate Nations. 7. Abolish Geography. 8. Dissolve Cities. 9. Abandon Republics. 10. Secede.  Kathy Prendergast, Between Love and Paradise (2002) and Lost (1999) Prendergast used U.S. maps.  For Lost she removed all names that did not include Lost as part of the name.  between Love and Paradise she only retained names that connected with emotions and similar characteristics for example ‘Surprise’, ‘Defiance’, ‘Love’, etc.

Itinerancy – The idea of movement – Francis Alys,  When faith moves mountains (2002). Alys recruited 500 volunteers and provided them with shovels to form a single line at the foot of a giant, sixteen-hundred foot long sand dune and succeeded in moving it by 4 inches.  Janet Cardiff – Produced ‘audio-walks’ that are scripted narratives taking the listener quit literaly on a journey.

Heterotopias and Non-places – Those parts of the landscape we don’t see or ignore. – Allan Sekula, Fish Story (1989-95) exploring a fascination he has with the sea and its often missing place in global capitalism.  In this project he explored the movement of goods in container ships, the hidden bulk of global exchange. Sekula reveals the slow and massive movement that is at the foundations of global economy through the landscape of the mostly unseen world of maritime commerce.  Peter Fischi and David Weiss, The Way Things Go (1985-87) banal style images of views taken from airport terminals of the outside airport with its parked and taxying aircraft as seen from the terminal windows as the passengers walk to or from their departure / arrival gate.

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