Sunday, 16 May 2010

No Soul for Sale

Yesterday I went to the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern to see 'No Soul for Sale' as part of the Tate's 10th anniversary celebrations (can it really be ten years?) It was a festival of independent galleries, non-profit, alternative spaces and collectives.

Usually the Turbine Hall is home to the Unilever series, showing installations by legendary artists such as  Louise Bourgeois and Anish Kapoor, but this time there was a democratic feel to the vast hall and a festive spirit. There were over 70 international galleries in the hall - many of them have worked on the fringes of the artworld for years. These are the antithesis of commercial galleries, valuing different qualities within the artwork, and presenting and disseminating information in different ways.

Unlike traditional art fairs such as the Armory Show or London Art Fair, each gallery at 'No Soul for Sale' was delineated simply by a taped line on the floor rather than partitioned off from each other, and many galleries seemed to almost collide. The atmosphere in the Turbine Hall on Saturday, the afternoon that I visited, was hectic and the hall thronged with visitors. There were of course opportunities to buy t-shirts or cloth bags, but the sale of artwork was not a premise of this show.

I was particularly looking out for the two galleries I had previously shown with - Artist's Space from New York and studio1.1 from London. Indeed, apart from these two galleries, it was only White Columns and Swiss Institute, both from New York, that I knew. It felt as though for once a different voice was being heard at the Tate, and one which is so often overlooked. More events like this please!

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