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  • Tate Etc. issue 32 (Autumn 2014)
    Tate Etc. issue 32: Autumn 2014
  • Tate Etc. issue 32 (Autumn 2014)
    Tate Etc. issue 32 (Autumn 2014)
  • Tate Etc. issue 32 (Autumn 2014)
    Tate Etc. issue 32 (Autumn 2014)
  • Tate Etc. issue 32 (Autumn 2014)
    Tate Etc. issue 32 (Autumn 2014)


Editor’s Note

‘The past is never dead. It’s not even past,’ said the writer William Faulkner. For the artists who bear witness to social change, political upheaval and possibly even war, they will inevitably be transformed by what they see and experience. The German artist Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) was born in Silesia – what was then East Germany and now present-day Poland – before, aged 12, he and his family moved west to Düsseldorf.

It is no surprise then that later, in 1963, Polke would organise the exhibition Capitalist Realist (along with Gerhard Richter and Konrad Lueg). Its title not only mocked the ‘socialist realism’ style, but also the consumer-driven art ‘doctrine’ of Western capitalism, and in doing so reflected the tensions that Polke had grown up with.

Several decades earlier in Europe, political instabilities would propel some artists to more tolerable creative environments, such as Judit Kárász (1912–1977), who left Hungary as it lurched politically to the right to find herself at the Bauhaus. Her photographs feature in The Modern Lens at Tate St Ives, alongside many other works by photographers from Eastern Europe, Latin America and Japan recently acquired by Tate.

As Faulkner’s line suggests, memory and remembrance is at the heart of how we relate to the past. Many of the photographers in Tate Modern’s exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography, which explores the relationships between photography and sites of conflict, did not witness actual events but have found ways to articulate them – from Chloe Dewe Mathews’s images of the various places where around 1,000 soldiers accused of desertion or cowardice during the First World War were shot at dawn, to Ursula Schulz-Dornburg’s pictures of landscapes ‘manipulated by conflict’.

The Second World War is still a live memory. The Japanese photographer Kikuji Kawada was a 12-year-old boy when the atomic bomb dropped on Hiroshima. He tackled its bitter legacy in his monochrome photo book The Map 1965. It features the stains and flaking ceilings of the Atomic Bomb Dome, the only surviving building at the heart of the detonation zone, mixed in with images of both discarded memorial photos and emblems of post-war Tokyo, such as Coca-Cola bottles and advertising images. Even though Kawada completed this project (an iteration of which will be in the exhibition) nearly 50 years ago, he knows that this past is forever moulding his present. As he writes: ‘As an observer, I would like to keep forcing myself into the future, never losing the sense of danger which emerges in the conflicts of daily life.’

Simon Grant



Caroline Achaintre at Tate Britain
Nam June Paik at Tate Modern
Gretchen Bender at Tate Liverpool


Raphael Oyelade

Art galleries and museums, as well as policy makers and educationalists, often talk about the need to encourage new young audiences through their doors. Many have initiatives to support this, but what are the tangible results? Tate Etc. invited a long-serving member of Tate Collective, the youth group that organises and curates events and now a display at Tate Britain, to tell his story

Richard Tuttle at Tate Modern
Richard Shiff

The UK’s largest ever survey of the American sculptor and poet Richard Tuttle will take place in London this October. It will comprise a major exhibition at the Whitechapel Gallery surveying five decades of his career, a large-scale sculptural commission in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall and a new publication. Entitled I Don’t Know . The Weave of Textile Language, this project has been specially devised by the artist and focuses on the particular importance of textiles in his work

To mark Armistice Day 2014, we invite you to view a selection of photographs, of scenes touched by conflict and taken in the seconds, days, weeks and years after the event, that feature in Tate Modern's forthcoming exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography 

Project from the Archive of Modern Conflict: Warriors
David Alan Mellor

The Archive of Modern Conflict (AMC) contains one of the best collections of photographs of war and conflict from across the centuries, some of which will be included in a special section of Tate Modern’s exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography. To coincide with this, we invited the AMC to select some works for the pages of Tate Etc. The exhibition’s co-curator David Alan Mellor introduces these extraordinary images

The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free
David Blayney Brown

We celebrate the artist’s extraordinary last 16 years, when his colour was most vivid, his handling boldest and his imagination more freewheeling than ever

Turner colour experiments
Olafur Eliasson

The Danish-Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is well known for his large-scale installations and sculptures using ethereal materials such as light, air and water, his most celebrated work being the giant artificial sun (The weather project) in the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. An important influence on him throughout his career has been JMW Turner, whose own approach to ephemeral atmospheric effects and interest in colour theories has inspired Eliasson’s new series of abstract paintings called Colour experiments, on display at Tate Britain

The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free

The Swiss mountain known as the Rigi, overlooking Lake Lucerne and its surrounding valleys, was a subject to which Turner returned many times. It would provide the artist with great inspiration for his watercolours, some of which, including The Blue Rigi, Sunrise 1842, will feature in Tate Britain’s forthcoming exhibition

The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free
Mike Leigh

‘Eccentric, anarchic, vulnerable, imperfect, erratic and sometimes uncouth.’ Mike Leigh’s extraordinary new film Mr. Turner is a tender and touching portrayal of Britain’s greatest artist, JMW Turner. We may think we know the art, but how well do we know the man? Tate Etc. talks to the director (whose research included a visit to Tate’s Prints and Drawings Room) about the experience of filming what he describes as ‘the profound, the sublime, the spiritual, the epic beauty and the terrifying drama of what it means to be alive on our planet’

Studio visit: Phillip King
Lee Cheshire

He studied under Anthony Caro, was a studio assistant to Henry Moore, and has consistently experimented with materials including foam PVC and steel. Tate Etc. visited Phillip King in his London studio on the eve of his display of work in the Duveen galleries at Tate Britain

Transmitting Andy Warhol
Lucy Mulroney

Today we take for granted the mass-media channels of publishing, film, fashion, music and broadcasting, but Andy Warhol was a master at utilising these platforms to expand the notion of the artwork and reflect his conviction that ‘art should be for everyone’. We are familiar with his paintings of icons, the numerous TV appearances in both ads and talk shows and his contribution to fashion and music, but his publishing achievements are not as well understood and celebrated as they should be


Peter Fischli on Sigmar Polke
Mark Godfrey and Peter Fischli

Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) was one of the most inventive and influential artists of recent times. A leading figure in the generation of 1960s German artists (along with Gerhard Richter and Blinky Palermo), his output was as varied as it was experimental – encompassing paintings, films, sculptures, notebooks, slide projections and photocopies. To coincide with Tate Modern’s first full retrospective of a career spanning five decades (including many works never previously exhibited), the curator of the show talks to the artist and admirer Peter Fischli.

Peter Doig on Sigmar Polke
Mark Godfrey and Peter Doig

To coincide with Tate Modern’s first full retrospective of a career spanning five decades (including many works never previously exhibited), curator Mark Godfrey talks to artist Peter Doig about his admiration for Sigmar Polke

Artists' voices

Conflict, Time, Photography
Kikuji Kawada

Tate Etc.’s Mariko Finch spoke to a selection of artists whose work features in the Tate Modern exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography. Here, Japanese photographer Kikuji Kawada discusses his photo book The Map

Conflict, Time, Photography
Chloe Dewe Mathews

Tate Modern’s exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography, opens this week, coinciding with the centenary of the start of the First World War. It shows the different perspectives that artists using cameras have brought to sites of conflict across the globe at different intervals of time: from images made a few moments or a day after an event, to those produced one, 10, 20, 30 and even 100 years later.

Tate Etc.'s Mariko Finch spoke to a selection of artists whose work features in the show, beginning with London-based photographer Chloe Dewe Mathews on her work Shot at Dawn 2013.

Conflict, Time, Photography
João Penalva

Tate Etc.’s Mariko Finch spoke to a selection of artists whose work features in the Tate Modern exhibition. Here, London-based photographer João Penalva discusses his experiences in Hiroshima 

Conflict, Time, Photography
Ursula Schulz-Dornburg

Tate Etc.’s Mariko Finch spoke to a selection of artists whose work features in the Tate Modern exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography. Here, German photographer Ursula Schulz-Dornburg discusses her work Hejaz 2002-3

Conflict, Time, Photography
Broomberg and Chanarin

Tate Etc.’s Mariko Finch spoke to a selection of artists whose work features in the Tate Modern exhibition Conflict, Time, Photography. Here, photographers Broomberg and Chanarin discuss their work The Day That Nobody Died 2008


The EY Exhibition: Late Turner - Painting Set Free
Jonathan P Watts

The work of J.M.W. Turner has influenced a wide range of cinematographers, filmmakers and artists working with film over the decades, including Jack Cardiff, Stan Brakhage, William Raban and, more recently, John Smith and Rosa Barba