08 July 2011

Inspiration and risk management

At the risk of being disowned by my History of Art student daughter, I have to admit that installation art doesn't engage me much.  The lawyer in me kicks in and I start thinking about what could go wrong.

For example, earlier this year, said daughter led me through The Forked Forest Path by Olafur Eliason at the Whitworth Gallery in Manchester.  For those unfamiliar with the work, it consists of an area of tall and dense bushes, all dead and very dry (it dates from 1998), through which you walk in a maze of paths in semi-darkness.  I soon began to fear that some bored child on a school trip might think it a great place to mess around with a cigarette lighter!

Then of course we had Ai Weiwei's Sunflower Seeds at Tate Modern.  From originally inviting visitors to interact with the massive area of hand painted stone seeds, the stage was reached where they could only be accessed in white overalls and breathing apparatus (OK, I'm exaggerating slightly) in view of the potential health hazard from the dust.