For anyone who has seen the impressive Duveen Galleries at Tate Britain empty, you’ll know it’s airy space and high ceilings can make walking from one end to another can seem never ending.
Phyllida Barlow’s dock exhibition makes you forget this as you walk under and around these genetically modified sculptures which eat into every cubic feet of air. Duck, dive and shimmy your way from beginning to end and back again, it’s the aftermath of the world’s worst DIYer assembling their IKEA flat packed furniture. It feels as if hard hats should be mandatory upon entering. Analysing the pieces of wood isn’t a good idea as it makes you question whether it can stand the weight of the structure whilst you’re under it! In fact, one work suggests as much and what the result would be if the worst should happen…
It almost feels like Phyllida Barlow has been walking up and down the Thames River collecting wood, tape, foam and polystyrene of all shapes, sizes and colours for the exhibition. Dock has taken Tony Cragg’s Stack (which you can also see in Tate Britain in the BP Walk Through British Art exhibition) to a whole new level.
Maybe it’s the bright colours used or the basic raw materials and angular design which urge you to climb and play (although I don’t recommend this). That’s what it reminds me of, a giant playground complete with rainbow coloured climbing frames, soft textures and even a tunnel.
As you tiptoe you’re way around the works (which could collapse with a breath of air at any given second) with your head tilted in a permanent upright position, you can’t help but appreciate the time and effort to orchestrate and build such expansive pieces of art.
Like this post? Why not share it! Or read more of my art exhibition reviews in London.
What do you think of dock? Does it make you want to climb the pieces of work too? Tell me in the comments section below.