Lothar Baumgarten

Terra Incognita


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Not on display

Lothar Baumgarten born 1944
Wood, 26 porcelain plates, 21 porcelain bowls, light bulbs and machete
Displayed: 740 × 8850 × 12360 mm
Presented by the Patrons of New Art through the Friends of the Tate Gallery 1990

Display caption

The title of this installation refers to the vast territory of the Amazon basin. The first European explorers arrived five centuries ago and gave it the name 'Terra Incognita'. Baumgarten lived among the Yanomami Indians in the Amazonian jungle for sustained periods between 1978 and 1980. This work contains pieces of presil wood. Plates are balanced on the pieces of wood and among them run electric wires feeding bulbs in blue and yellow. The wires can be associated with the dense network of rivers and tributaries of the Amazon basin, Drawings on the plates may be associated with maps, while the bulbs refer to the magical, phosphorescence of the forest floor (blue) and the diseases introduced by European invaders (yellow).

Gallery label, September 2004

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