The artists’ critique of the art institution came to light with conceptual art of the late 1960s. As Zobernig’s critical practice extends into the institutional structures which support the presentation of art – from marketing tools and events, to architecture and interior design – the artist has been commissioned to design this new resource room at Tate St Ives.
Initially an education space and more recently a small gallery, its original architectural features have been exposed and the window onto the Heron Mall reopened; new lighting, furniture and equipment have been fitted.
As with many of the interiors the artist has previously installed for art fairs, bars, gallery conferences, museum foyers and so forth, he activates a constant shift between functional design and sculptural form by setting up a tension between objects from the real world and those from the art world.
In considering how environments shape the public reception and significance of an artwork, Zobernig consciously ‘restages’ these meeting points between the art, institution and audience. If this space is actually an artwork – where after the show the items could be collected or sold – then you might ask at what point does its use become more of a performance?