Patrick Keiller: The Robinson Institute
Tate Britain, London
Robinson is the fictitious subject of Patrick Keiller's film trilogy, a maverick scholar and flaneur whose travels around London and the English countryside are documented by a mysterious institute. Transplanting this ingenious conceit to the Tate Britain has allowed Keiller to expand on the political and cultural reflections of his film, and make connections across art forms and eras. His own footage of fields, churchyards and lichened road signs appears alongside Romantic and modernist representations of the natural environment, from the picturesque beauty of JMW Turner's watercolours to the uncanny landscapes of Paul Nash. Keiller explores the ways in which capitalism imprints itself on the British landscape, with pipelines, power stations and fenced-off military bases creating a disturbing psychogeography. Apocalyptic portents are scattered throughout, from meteorites which fell on 19th century Oxfordshire, to a monitor showing Cold War-era science-fiction classic Quatermass II. As a corrective to this, Keiller traces a radical history of dissent, from handkerchiefs commemorating the Peterloo Massacre to photographs of protesters dancing on the Aldermaston missile silo. What might at first seem like an idiosyncratic miscellany becomes a powerful meditation on art, politics and place.
Until 14 October 2012
Unpublished sample review