Uncomfortable Proximity 2000
Harwood @ Mongrel
Graham Harwood approached his work for the Tate website as a personal recounting of the history of Tate and its collection. It mirrors the Tate's own website, but offers new images and ideas, collaged from his own experiences, his readings of Tate works and publicity materials as well as his interest in the Tate Britain site.
Uncomfortable Proximity points us towards (A)rt’s role as medicine and the use of aesthetics to negotiate social positioning, race, national identity and economic forces.
The project was active throughout the year 2000, performing as an intevention when every third visitor to Tate Online was unwittingly dropped into this ‘Mongrelised’ reworking of the site.
The website’s aesthetic, like many ‘hand-built’ sites of its day was formalised by the capabilities of hypertext mark-up language (html) and browser displays of the time. The layout and structure of the work is an exact replica of Tate Online as it existed in the year 2000, however images appear to be missing... the text, strangely critical and obtuse. Intentionally subversive, these twisted replicas are woven together with personal and historical narratives. Each image, each word hand crafted to reflect a reworking of the site’s componant parts.
Harwood has used sections of paintings by Turner, Wheatley, Gainsborough, Hogarth, Rossetti, Reynolds, Holman Hunt and others from the Tate Collection. The images have been created in extreme close-up, fed into a computer, and then combined with other pictures from the faces and flesh of Harwood, his friends and family.
…montages of people and paint; close-cropped sections of canvases butted up to photographs of mud, debris and puddles on the banks of the Thames on Millbank. The digital camera allows a proximity to material, to skin, to the surface of paint that exceeds the eye's trained ability to sort and recognise. Skin pores become alien matter folding in billows, blunt bags trimmed with iridescent grease, pinked mudflats. Hair meets paint slabbed on like cold marge. Eyes of muscle, water and jelly share the same surface tension as those of dried-up and laquered oil....
Matthew Fuller, from Breach The Pieces
All rights reserved, Graham Harwood, Mongrel 2000