Classified: Tate Britain

"There is something at once uplifting and terrifying about the idea that  nothing in the world is so unique it cant be entered on a list"  (Georges Perec 1936-1982)

On a recent visit to the Tate Britain, I had a chance to explore one of their contemporary exhibitions entitled: Classified. The idea surrounding the exhibition looks at how we interpret and view things in our everyday lives. 

Some of my favourite pieces were:
'The Great Bear' Simon Patterson, 1992

"I like disrupting something people take as read'' (Patterson)
Adapting the official map of the London Underground, Patterson has replaced the names of stations with philosophers, actors, politicians and other celebrated figures. The title The Great Bear refers to the constellation Ursa Major, a punning reference to Patterson''s own arrangement of ''stars''. Patterson alters our belief that maps and diagrams provide a reliable source of information.

'The Pharmacy' Damien Hirst, 1992
A room-sized installation representing a real pharmacy with cabinets containing bottles and packages of presciption drugs. On the counter are four apothecary bottles, which represent the four elements: earth, air, fire and water. Here Hirst attempts to link methods of ordering medicine with the display of art. He also has an interest in how minimal, colourful and clean package design can be untainted by commercial branding to convey confidence.

'Chapman Family Collection' Jake and Dino Chapman, 2002
The installation features 34 wooden carvings, all with references to the McDonalds restaurant chain. At first glance the display 

I really like how the collection aims to alter or twist our interpretation of the norm through art. It was really engaging in terms of an exhibition as there were some displays that were hard to understand, unless analysed very closely. Full of perception, 'Classified' almost creates an illusion of what we view as the real world. 

"How we see the world is how we understand it. Things are seen in relationship to other things and actions. Connections are made, naming takes place and meaning is formulated. We all engage with the world around us in diverse ways, both actively and passively. The meanings and names given to things are not fixed, but instead fluid. We classify and catalogue but over time these categories and attendant meanings change, as does the importance they hold for us. The medieval world view, or cosmology, bears little relationship to the way we understand our place in the world today. The works in this exhibition are drawn from Tate Collection. They adopt various forms, suggest diverse types of interpretation and provide a means of suggesting how the different types and arrangements of material culture inform our daily life. The exhibition also makes explicit the museum's role in collecting, classifying and displaying objects. It reveals how the arrangements of objects feed into museum systems of classification and interpretation bringing a sort of order to the world." (Tate Britain)

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