James Rosenquist, Space Dust 1989 . Tate . © James Rosenquist/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2022

Room 1 in Media Networks

James Rosenquist and Allora & Calzadilla

Jennifer Allora, Guillermo Calzadilla, Ten minute transmission  2003

This work was inspired by artist Alexander Calder’s suspended sculptures, or mobiles. Another influence was Russian artist and architect Vladimir Tatlin’s unrealised design, Monument to the Third International 1919, a tower with a rotating radio station at the top.

The title of this work, Ten Minute Transmission refers to the period of time when the International Space Station (ISS) can be contacted via radio as it flies past. The ISS orbits the Earth once every 90 minutes, but passes close enough to the antenna just twice a day. Usually the radio only picks up sounds of encrypted data packets sent back to Earth from the station. Two-way voice communication with the astronauts is now rare and needs to be requested in advance.

Gallery label, January 2019

artworks in James Rosenquist and Allora & Calzadilla

James Rosenquist, Space Dust  1989

This work belongs to a collection of large prints, Welcome to the Water Planet. The series addresses a recurring theme in Rosenquist’s work: the ecological impact of consumer culture on the natural environment. The ‘water planet’ of the title is Earth, imagined in the context of outer space. Everyday objects resemble spacecrafts and celestial bodies, floating against colourful backgrounds whose sprayed texture recalls galaxies and nebulae. Like the other prints in the series, Space Dust combines coloured paper pulp and collaged elements, printed onto handmade paper sheets.

Gallery label, January 2022

artworks in James Rosenquist and Allora & Calzadilla

James Rosenquist, Where the Water Goes  1989

When working as a sign painter, Rosenquist’s job was to enlarge artwork for adverts to the size of billboards. This made him look at pictures differently: ‘I would take disparate images, put them together and try to make another sense out of them. It was almost like the idea of listening to radio and thinking about something in the abstract.’ Where the Water Goes is similarly constructed from a variety of separate sources. Cut-out shapes suggestive of human hair or waste are funnelled into a drainage pipe which extends out into the cosmos.

Gallery label, January 2022

artworks in James Rosenquist and Allora & Calzadilla

Art in this room

T13698: Ten minute transmission
Jennifer Allora, Guillermo Calzadilla Ten minute transmission 2003
P12233: Space Dust
James Rosenquist Space Dust 1989
P12237: Where the Water Goes
James Rosenquist Where the Water Goes 1989

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