Tate Britain gave artist Mike Nelson a commission to fill the Duveen Galleries with things.
This is a saw. The straight blade is held between the arms of that metal upside-down ‘U’ shape you can see top left.
The blade is marked ‘Eclipse’, which is a brand I know from hacksaws I have used. it is used for cutting metal.
The machine is sitting on top of a slab of cut stone. The stone is very fine grained. Maybe it is Portland stone. I say that because cement is made from the pale grey stone quarried in Portland in Dorset.
The machine is sitting on a slab of stone which is on a cupboard, which is on two slabs of stone.
Is It Art
If I put it in a gallery, is it art? It’s a perennial question. At least it gives viewers an opportunity to look at functional objects as shapes in space.
The Duveen Galleries are sculpture galleries, with high ceilings. I should have taken a photo of the galleries for context, but here is a shot from 2014 of one of the halls in the Tate. I think this is a shot of a hallway at street level, so not the Duveen Galleries, but you get the idea.
In a couple of the side rooms there were more ‘constructed’ objects. What do you make of this engine sitting on a pile of sleeping bags?
What is makes me think is that those are perfectly adequate sleeping bags and that there are homeless people who would like them.
These people don’t need them. They are homeless, but they have sleeping bags.
There are probably lots of stories one could hear about how these people don’t fit into society and that is why they are homeless. You could hear how somehow, to some degree, being homeless is a problem of their own making.
You could say that, but you’d have to ignore the explosion of homelessness and rough sleeping in the UK.