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.