Brian Haw Art War
The artist has meticulously recreated peace campaigner Brian Haw's extraordinary array of protest banners, placards, posters, flags, teddy bears in peace T-shirts, mutilated dolls and heavily annotated curling press cuttings. This howl of outrage against the war in Iraq stretched right across one side of Parliament Square, opposite the Palace of Westminster, until the police arrived in the small hours of May 23 last year, citing the new Serious Organised Crime and Police Act, and confiscated all but a three-metre section.
Exhibition Site for this exhibition at the Tate Britain
Wallinger's only real intervention is the line of black tape, which marks the radius of the one-kilometre exclusion zone from the centre of Parliament Square, within which the draconian provisions of the act apply. Two thirds of the exhibition falls within the danger zone, including the horrific array of photographs of children born with grotesque mutilations blamed on the use of spent uranium in bombs. The line then continues through other galleries, through Sir Godfrey Kneller's towering portrait of Speaker John Smith in 1707, proudly brandishing a copy of the new Act of Union, before finally running into George Stubbs' happy, spotlessly clean haymakers, politely chatting with the farm manager on horseback - a painting that is either a celebration of rural life or which "robs the workers of their individuality and denies the harsh realities of their work for sentimental effect," as the caption puts it.
Posted by Tony at 14:54