Tuesday, 9 October 2007



London's Tate Modern Gallery's central exhibit is what we see in the image above, a massice crack in a concrete floor. "Shibboleth" created by Colombian sculptor Doris Salcedo, runs the full 167-metre (548-feet) length of the massive Turbine Hall within the Tate. It begins as a tiny crack then gradually widens and deepens as it crosses the room. The entire piece took one year to make and 5 weeks for installtion. Sibboleth is Hebrew used in the Old Testement means "a custom or practice that distinguishes someone as an outsider." This piece aimed to highlight the racism faced by White Europeans and the rest of humanity.

When asked how deep the crack went, she replied: "It's bottomless. It's as deep as humanity."

The physicalities of the piece aim to created borders and fractions to represent the issue at hand. I think it is an interesting idea to put the idea of segregation and division on such a literal and large scale - making you take notice.

"It represents borders, the experience of immigrants, the experience of segregation, the experience of racial hatred. It is the experience of a Third World person coming into the heart of Europe.... For example, the space which illegal immigrants occupy is a negative space. And so this piece is a negative space."

"Shibboleth" is Salcedo's first public commission in Britain and the eighth in the Unilever Series of works occupying the Turbine Hall at the former power station. The last was Carsten Hoeller's hugely popular giant slides.

Tate Modern staff will be stationed near the crack to warn visitors about the dangers of tripping and falling into the void. The installation will be removed next April by filling in the crack. Tate director Nicholas Serota said the "scar" would remain "as a memory of the work and also be a memorial to the issues Doris touches on."

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