Friday, November 9, 2007

Decoration And The White Cube

Beatriz Milhazes is an artist who uses decorative elements and bright colours to create pretty compositions with a variety of surfaces. Her motifs are derived from natural elements and from her homeland- she's from South America. She usually paints her patterns- dotted circles, paisley motifs, expanding rectangles- onto plastic and then transfers this to her surface. This working process shows in the completed work. Her work has been commissioned for the Tate Modern restaurant.

Another artist whose work is in the Tate Modern is Doris Salcedo, (2007), whose work Shibboleth (2007) 167-metre-long crack in the main hall. It represents the rift between an immigrant's experience and the dominant culture. Doris Salcedo's work has a political bent, drawing attention to the negative spaces of human experience.

So, two artists in the Tate Modern- one in the cafeteria, another in the main hall. Wouldn't this seem to be making one a more 'serious' artist than the other? After all, Milhaze's work is decoration and verve, and Salcedo's creates visuals for emptiness and tragedy. But they are both very talented and obvious professionals. As an artist, I'd rather have my work in the 'real' part of the gallery, but then again, I'd be happy to have ANYTHING in a gallery, nevermind the Tate, which is a very important gallery indeed. What does place say about the work anyways- after all, it's the same work wherever you put it. Or is it?