On Monday, I visited the Tate Modern with my flatmate Charlotte (who is also doing the MA). We looked around the free exhibitions as well as some of the permanent displays. Both of the main free exhibits were incredibly interesting, both as an observer and as a conservator.
Taryn Simon’s work entitled The Living Man Declared Dead and Other Chapters was one of the most thought provoking photography pieces I have ever seen; instead of just being images, there were 4 years of research into 18 family trees displayed as a written “chapter” alongside portraits of the family (ranging from 3 people to over 60!) The stories from these families were very moving and the depth of research into them and their history was impressive.
The other exhibition was by a collection of four artists working in Africa called Contested Terrains; challenging peoples views of past, present and future Africa. One of the pieces featured a double slide-show highlighting the idea of repair, both in ethnographic objects and in the human form – there were slides depicting crude repairs (or conservation, as it could be interpreted) of bowls and other objects using twine or metal tacks and plates. An intriguing insight into day-to-day repair of common place objects.