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EXHIBITION REVIEW: CHRISTINA MACKIE: TATE BRITAIN COMMISSION 2015

 

By: Danielle Aumord | Date 01.10.2015

http://londonexhibitions.co.uk/



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Christina Mackie has recently unveiled a three-part installation of creative works – in the Duveen Galleries – in the centre of Tate Britain. The display – highly anticipated by art enthusiasts – was inspired by her deep-rooted interest in pigments and colour. ‘I don’t consider my work to be abstract; it all comes from my own life, the arc of which is the narrative,’ explained Mackie. ‘It’s a metaphysical space, peopled, full of furniture, personal stories and locations, which I use as a fuel cell to generate new meaning for myself.’ Upon first glance – I wouldn’t say that these works would be everybody’s cup of tea. Some of the black and white photos on also display here at the Tate – moved me more – but it’s worth a visit – and upon close inspection – it’s clear that she’s an artist of detail. Mackie has filled half of the exhibition space with 12-metre-high dipped silk nets suspended above large circular pans of semi-crystallised dye, to create an ethereal installation. They give the impression of elongated lamps – in a chalky yellow colour, bright blue, passionate red, dark purple, different shades of green and burnt orange. She used a range of media here - but colour and perception remain central – and her fascination with both natural and man-made materials continue to feature in this latest piece. The crystallised bits of dye look gritty – yet fascinating and precious all at the same time. The nets look in some way like giant stockings – but expensive ones. You almost want to touch them – to experience a bit of more of what’s going on here. ‘All objects are more or less found; even a sheet of paper is a product. I am interested in what happens to materials after they’ve entered my zone of influence,’ she explained. The high ceilings of the Duveen Galleries add significantly to the drama of the display - with the painted nets kept in a permanent state of flux by changing light and colour. They are displayed together with a freestanding sculpture and a plinth with chunks of raw glass. It’s a perfect setting for this exhibition. ‘I like to work in a free space where things can come together. Every idea and object has a history, which describes its provenance and tells you what its doing there,’ Mackie added. I found the marbled paint on the chunks of glass within the plinth had a calming effect – as it captivated my gaze. Perhaps this for some – this piece - may be the highlight of the exhibition. “There’s no point trying to tell every little thing because everyone reads things differently”, she explained. ‘I would like people to feel curious and unbiased when they look at my work, and to make their own associations and references.’ Well said – however anyone chooses to interpret Mackie’s work – is up to each individual. Art is whatever anyone wants it to be – whatever’s in the heart – that’s working it’s way outwards. ‘You don’t need to know the history of an object or a person to have an insight into them, because everything is available at the moment when things are seen,’ she added. Her work is both intriguing and in some respects - a challenge to the undeveloped eye. It’s certainly a ‘go see’ if you want to see something that has the potential to wet one’s appetite for venturing further a field. The exhibition is on until Sunday 18th October 2015.
 
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