Michael Fullerton: Suck on Science
Tate Britain, Art Now Room
2 July – 21 August 2005
The latest exhibition in Tate Britain’s Art Now series presents a new installation of works by Michael Fullerton. Incorporating painting, sculpture and film, Suck on Science explores the transmission and reception of information. Fullerton’s work consists of two apparently distinct strands which appear to share little aesthetic common ground: portrait paintings skilfully executed in the tradition of eighteenth-century English painters such as Gainsborough, and more conceptual works that span sculpture, screenprints and film.
At the root of Fullerton’s work is an awareness of the mediated nature of the process of recording, from the tools and technologies of communication to the institutions and individuals responsible for the dispersal of information in the public arena. Two works in the exhibition form an ambiguous homage to BASF, the German chemical giants who famously invented magnetic tape but also pioneered the technology that led to the mass production of pigments. These two developments revolutionised the history of what Fullerton sees as two different kinds of broadcast – tape recording and painting. Who Keeps the World Both Old and New, in Pain or Pleasure 2004 consists of five four-metre-long poles suspended vertically from the ceiling on wires, cast in steel and coated in one of BASF’s latest pigments, called Magic Purple, which changes colour according to the location from which you view it. The work might appear to make reference to purely formal, Minimalist sculpture, but it is in fact a scaled-up model of rods in the human eye, its receptors of light, based on an illustration in an anatomy book. In its accompanying piece, Cones 2004, Fullerton has taken two plastic cones, coated with a mixture of urethane and ferric oxide (the raw material that stores signal on videotape) and placed between them the original microphone used by Alistair Cooke in his famous Letter from America broadcasts.
Fullerton’s full-length portrait of John Peel is among the paintings which feature in the exhibition, and exudes warmth and admiration for the late broadcaster and champion of the avant-garde. His portraits often depict individuals who are to some extent defined by their political convictions or commitment to a vision.
Michael Fullerton was born in Bellshill, Scotland in 1971. He lives and works in Glasgow.
Tate Britain, sculpture court
2 July – 30 October 2005
As part of the Art Now programme, Enrico David presents Chicken Man Gong, a new sculpture made specifically for Tate Britain’s sculpture court. The work’s title explains the form of the work – a gong, with a human head, tail feathers and an elegant foot in stockings.
David has said that he has a need in his work for ‘discontinuity, disruption and misuse’ and Chicken Man Gong is an absurd comment on public sculpture and the museum display. The gong will be banged several times a day by Tate staff, subverting the usual reverence with which an art object is treated in a museum. It is displayed next to a vitrine containing objects both made and collected by the artist, mimicking the use of educational and interpretative materials next to museum exhibits.
Italian-born Enrico David has lived and worked in London since the early 1990s. His broad practice derives from drawing and includes sculpture, painting and installation. David’s work mines a range of visual sources aside from fine art and attempts to test art’s visibility in the world in its many forms, from folk craft to modernist design.