Carl Andre, ‘144 Magnesium Square’ 1969
Carl Andre
144 Magnesium Square 1969
Tate
© Carl Andre/VAGA, New York and DACS, London 2019
George Lance, ‘Fruit (‘The Autumn Gift’)’ 1834, ?exhibited 1834
George Lance
Fruit (‘The Autumn Gift’) 1834, ?exhibited 1834
Tate
George Bernard O’Neill, ‘The Foundling’ 1852
George Bernard O’Neill
The Foundling 1852
Tate
John MacWhirter, ‘June in the Austrian Tyrol’ exhibited 1892
John MacWhirter
June in the Austrian Tyrol exhibited 1892
Tate
Michael Andrews, ‘A Man who Suddenly Fell Over’ 1952
Michael Andrews
A Man who Suddenly Fell Over 1952
Tate
© The estate of Michael Andrews
Margaret Mellis, ‘Blue Anemone’ 1957
Margaret Mellis
Blue Anemone 1957
Tate
© The estate of Margaret Mellis
Anthony Hill, ‘Orthogonal / Diagonal Composition’ 1954
Anthony Hill
Orthogonal / Diagonal Composition 1954
Tate
© Anthony Hill
Bob Law, ‘No. 62 (Black/Blue/Violet/Blue)’ 1967
Bob Law
No. 62 (Black/Blue/Violet/Blue) 1967
Tate
© The estate of Bob Law
Josef Albers, ‘Beta’ 1939
Josef Albers
Beta 1939
Tate
© 2019 The Josef and Anni Albers Foundation/Artists Rights Society (ARS), New York/DACS, London
Herbert Bayer, ‘Four Yellow Corners’ 1969
Herbert Bayer
Four Yellow Corners 1969
Tate
© DACS, 2019

Carl Andre’s floor piece 144 Magnesium Square 1984, carries the theme of the grid, serial forms and functionality into Gallery 4. This work is a prime example of Andre’s minimalism which encourages such direct physical engagement with the viewer, that it can be walked on.

Andre consciously wanted the work to occupy the same space as the viewer, previously separated by a plinth or setting. Zobernig’s floor piece in Gallery 1, as discussed, breaks down the boundaries further between the real and art world.

Perhaps the artist’s choice of paintings and works on paper from the Tate collection seems at first erratic and disconnected. However, from the selection spanning over 300 years hung in salon style in this gallery, certain themes begin to emerge: images which capture a sense of space and atmosphere coupled with a sense of emptiness or catastrophe, or those which are totally non-representational as well as narrative portrait painting.

Whilst including major figures from international modernism — among which he cites various St Ives based artists with whom his work may engage — a plethora of other references which the artist examines throughout his work unfold: ideas around representation and the stage set, a device used variously by both John Tunnard and Lawrence Alma Tadema, or definitions of colour and form respectively explored by Patrick Heron and Georges Vantongerloo.

Alongside the Collection display in this room, Zobernig has included his Video Nr 2 1989. Arbitrarily titled and consciously simple in its approach, this early video portrait of the artist swaggering across a meadow in a blonde wig to a computer generated theme tune, apes the nascent experiments of early video artists such as Bruce Nauman exploring notions of ‘the self’ with a (then) new medium.

Like other works in this series Nr 1 and Nr 3, the low-tech camera style captures repeated jerky actions in a reduced format of one viewpoint, shot in real time with no effects. This work connects curiously with Daniel Stringer’s self portrait of 1776.