Mark DionTate Thames Dig 1999

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Artwork details

Mark Dion (born 1961)
Tate Thames Dig
Date 1999
MediumWooden cabinet, porcelaine, earthenware, metal, animal bones, glass and 2 maps
Dimensionsunconfirmed: 2660 x 3700 x 1260 mm
Acquisition Purchased with assistance from private benefactors 2000
Not on display


This text discusses two related works, Tate Thames Dig 1999 (T07669) and Tate Thames Dig - Locker 2000 (T07670).

During the summer of 1999, U.S. artist Mark Dion and a team of volunteers drawn from local groups combed the foreshore of the Thames at low tide along two stretches of beach at Millbank and Bankside, near the Tate Gallery (now Tate Britain) and Bankside Power Station, which would become Tate Modern the following year. As with Yard of Jungle 1992 (Museo Arte Moderna, Rio de Janeiro), where he literally removed and examined a yard of jungle floor, Dion focused on a natural, historical constant. In this case, he turned to the banks of the River Thames, looking for fragments of individual and ephemeral histories. London's location, its growth and its fortunes can be attributed to the Thames. The two sites yielded a wide variety of artefacts and tokens of life as lined Millbank on the north shore of the Thames and Bankside on the south. Working over a number of days, Dion's team collected large quantities of items, including clay pipes, vividly decorated shards of delftware, oyster shells and plastic toys… (read more)

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