mini-dramas in the rubbish

October 8, 2006

Surprisingly, not everyone was thrilled with all the entries for this year’s Turner prize. One, by Ms Rebecca Warren, has received particularly harsh criticism, some commentators going so far as to describe it as ‘rubbish’.

Personally, I think it looks quite pretty, perhaps not as colourful as Van Gogh’s sunflowers but well worth a place on the wall next to the flying ducks. According to the Mirror, Ms Warren said: “I’m actually interested in what a bit of fluff and a bit of twig put in a particular order can mean. For somebody, it could mean one thing, and for somebody else, it could mean something else.” Wow. Ground-breaking stuff indeed.
Tate Curator Lizzie Carey-Thomas said: “Despite the fact it is rubbish, there is a mini-drama going on. The objects are active within the box itself. They have emotional and associative resonance, and can communicate meaning.” That just shows how much Ms Carey-Thomas knows about art.. What does she mean “despite the fact it is rubbish”? Even I with a failed GCE in Art know that there are few things as dramatic and, in their own way, artistic, as the contents of my dustbin. (aside: why is it called ‘dustbin’- dust is about the only thing there isn’t there. If you want dust I can show you small mountains of it at the back of the stereo but none at all in the ‘dustbin’).
Well, I’m pleased to make available to any future Turner prize contestants the contents of my rubbish bin- they’ll have ot be quick, though, before the rather less art conscious waste disposal experts make off with it. To give them a few ideas I’ve knocked up a little something which I thought of entering for this prestigious award (damn, just noticed they have a stupid age limit on it).

I think it is obvious that what I’m interested in is how a banana skin for somebody means a banana skin and for somebody else also means a banana skin. Already one critic has praised my work “verticals and horizontals belong together and call out luminosities and turbulence…. mostly barren, and delicate like reverie…. a complex quality of feeling. The drama of the self, the antagonism of the passions and the contemplative mind, of activity and the isolated passive self, are projected here.” Unfortunately, my cats were not so favourable in their judgement and have scattered this priceless work to the four corners of the kitchen. Oh well, it’ll just have to go back into the bin.
Uh-oh. I’ve just seen who is sponsoring the Turner prize. Gordon’s gin. Is it at all possible that the good folk at the Tate partook a little too liberally of the sponsor’s product before drawing up the short list? It certainly sounds like it when I read what they say of another artist on the list: “At the core of Titchner’s work is an ambiguous attitude towards the ideas that he appropriates that has the effect of empowering the viewer.” Well at least mine empowered the cats.


2 Responses to “mini-dramas in the rubbish”

  1. SilverTiger Says:

    Last year, Tigger and I visited an art exhibition in a corner of London (I forget where and Tigger, who remembers everything, is alseep, so it will have to go by default). As we reverentially paced the big hall, we observed a security guard standing in the middle of an expanse of apparently empty floor. As we approached, he engaged us by making eye contact and then extended the index finger of his right hand in a pointing gesture at the floor in the region of his feet. If this think this puzzled us, you are right.

    Then we saw the reason for this cryptic sign: approximately one inch from the floor was a black spherical object about an inch in diameter composed of thin black spikes, suspended from the ceiling by a long and nearly invisible thread. A work of art, by golly! And we nearly missed it.


  2. tomeemayeepa Says:

    Thank God for security guards. People can say what they like about Michelangelo, but you can’t chuck a 15 foot statue of a man with no clothes on in the bin without realising it.

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