Staring at art from the Tate's collection and thinking about it

Sunday, 22 September 2013

Five Sisters Bing - John Latham

John Latham, Five Sisters Bing, 1976, books, 190 x 622 x 457 mm, Tate.






Here Latham uses his regular medium of book to echo the contours of a derelict land site in the Midlothian and West Lothian area.  The plan was to build book-shaped monuments on them, but I'm glad that never happened because it would probably end up like some late-Claes Oldenburg awfulness.  And besides, libraries do the job of publicly celebrating the written word so much better.
   I enjoy this, however.  That you can get a sense of the contours a large outdoor space from this simple cropping and arranging of everyday items is a neat piece of shamanism.  Curiously, the Tate's exhaustive cataloguing tells me that one of the books used is by top comedy writer David Nobbs, creator of Reggie Perrin.

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