The current exhibition at the Turner Contemporary gallery, explores the creative risks that artists take to challenge their audience and reflect on what can be considered a risk in daily life and society. On a recent visit I discovered that the majority of the exhibition is compiled of live installations, interactive art and short film. As humans, we instinctually associate risk with action and danger, therefore often the context behind certain artwork is needed to understand the risk the artist faces or is trying to portray.
I was excited to see ‘Rest Energy’ was being shown, as a fan of Marina Abramović’s work. ‘Rest Energy’ is a performance piece by herself and Ulay, which displays an extreme element of trust and risk between two people in a deep relationship. The other film on show that stood out to me and shares a link with Rest Energy, was ‘Cut Piece’ by Yoko Ono. This piece explores the role of the female body in art, feminism and the way in which subjects become objects. Members of the audience had been invited to come onto the stage with Ono and cut a section of her clothing, so that it gradually fell away from her body. These two pieces both look at the risks that are put onto people in everyday life as humans, for example falling in love can be seen as a risk, a theme which Abramović and Ulay worked with extensively.
AFTER leaving the gallery and with the subject of risky business still on my mind, I had to short amount of time to explore Margate itself. In contrast to the stark and minimal look of the Turner Contemporary, Margate is a mishmash of architecture, typical of that of a down-at-heel seaside town. Strolling along the seafront I was reminded of the television series aired a few years ago, featuring Mary Portas attempting to re-design Margate’s image. The was a risk in itself, as after some research I discovered that more than half of the shops renovated on the program have closed down. However the addition of the Turner Contemporary, championed by Margate-raised Tracey Emin, has brought an artistic revival to the Old Town. In addition to the re-opening of ‘Dreamland’, the retro, kitsch-style fairground which has welcomed in a new wave of tourism. For me, Margate has definitely affirmed itself a place on my visit-again-list and I would like to take a deeper look into it’s social past. But for now, it sits with me as a typical english seaside town, bursting with character and boasting an excellent art gallery.