The crack in the floor at the Tate Modern has swallowed its first victims.
The Guardian reported that an onlooker said “We saw the first poor victim, a young woman who went into it with both feet up to just below her knees. She had to be dragged out by her friends,”
“Unbelievably, as we watched to see whether she was OK, an older woman deliberately stepped on it (she later told us, amazingly, that she thought the crack was painted on the floor) lurched forward and landed on the ground. She had a sore wrist to show for it.”
I wonder if the Tate Modern is paying extra insurance for this installation? A hole in the ground is an insurance disaster waiting to happen.
The installation is by the artist Doris Salcedo and is called “Shibboleth” or has been nicknamed “Doris’s Crack” (which makes me giggle.) There’s a video interview with the artist here at the Tate.
After looking at the pictures of the crack in the floor, I didn’t get the impression that this is a work about race or society, but the artist believes there’s more to it than an interesting hole in the ground..
“Salcedo is addressing a long legacy of racism and colonialism that underlies the modern world. A ‘shibboleth’ is a custom, phrase or use of language that acts as a test of belonging to a particular social group or class. By definition, it is used to exclude those deemed unsuitable to join this group”
“In breaking open the floor of the museum, Salcedo is exposing a fracture in modernity itself. Her work encourages us to confront uncomfortable truths about our history and about ourselves with absolute candidness, and without self-deception.” Tate Modern
I’m not anti-installation or anti (challanging) contemporary art, I just wish artists wouldn’t take themselves so seriously. It’s an interesting crack in the floor of a museum that makes visitors look down. It makes me think of a scary few days I had in Turkey, when there was a massive earthquake. It probably makes floor repair men think about hard work.
I just don’t think artists should try and complicate their work.