apPraise: Robert Kieller - "The Robinson Institute", Tate Britan


Well, I'm not sure how to describe or talk about this show! So lets start off with the poster image!


I came across this seemingly nondescript show purely by accident, walking through the main atrium in the Tate Britain. I then recognised the name from a book a student had in Spain, which was in fact the exhibition book, which I swiftly purchased at the Tate Shop.  

At first glance it seemed like a random collection of works, hung in such a casual fashion,  all hung on free standing metal frames rather like 'cash n carry' art fair. I then out the corner of my eye spotted this Graham Sutherland piece, one of my favourite pieces from the imaginative painter of landscapes; still life and portraits (who interestingly studied at Goldsmiths college in 1921). 

'Entrance to a lane' 1939 - Graham Sutherland
As a result, I did a double take and muttered to myself, "what on earth is that doing just hanging about in this nonchalant fashion where one could just pick it up and slot it in their bag"!  Not that, ever crossed my mind....I then found out that it was the ''Patrick Keiller' Robinson Institute show' which Keiller (film essayist/maker) was commissioned to make in response to the collections held at the Tate, however this would indicate that Keiller produced artworks (in the traditional sense) in response to the collection which it isn't and theres more (a hell of a lot more) that meets the eye. 

In short, Keiller has used film essays which he made earlier, where a fictitious scholar, Robinson takes research journeys through the England countryside. The Tate show then uses parts of the film footage and findings from these films as a basis and are shown side by side with drawings, paintings; sculptures and other delightful treats from the Tate's vast collection.

The show was organised like a series of chapters and followed the journey of 'Robinson' round a specified area of England. It was like an exercise of 'joining the dots',  like a maze with twists and turns as well as a dash of detective playing and problem solving thrown in for good measure.

Example of chapter abstract- Introduction

Of course, you could literally take the show at 'face value' and appreciate the visuals for what they were but there's certainly a 'kick' factor when you really see 'why' Keiller places an Andy Warhol piece in a particular chapter and its relevance to the pieces/footage in close vicinity to it. 

Andy Warhol screen print in the show - 2nd from the left


Thinking about it now, although seeing pieces by Fontana, Sutherland, Nash and Paolozzi would have sufficed, there is something quite extraordinary about this show. Its clever, well thought out and some of the links between the works are just simply brilliant. Definitely worth a gander.

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