February 25, 2013 - Tate Modern - Project Space: Ruins in Reverse
February 25, 2013

Project Space: Ruins in Reverse

Rä di Martino, No More Stars (Star Wars) 33°59’39 N 7°50’34 E Chot El-Gharsa, Tunisia 03 September 2010. © Rä di Martino and Monitor, Rome.

Project Space: Ruins in Reverse
1 March–24 June 2013

Tate Modern
Project Space, Level 1
Admission free
Hours: daily 10–18h and late until 22h 
on Friday and Saturday

T 020 7887 8888


Ruins in Reverse is the result of a curatorial collaboration between Tate Modern in London and the Museo de Arte de Lima – MALI in Peru. The exhibition questions the distinction between historical monuments and abandoned urban ruins. Presented in Tate Modern’s Project Space, it brings together works by six international artists: Rä di Martino, Pablo Hare, José Carlos Martinat, Haroon Mirza, Eliana Otta and Amalia Pica. 

Borrowing its title from an idea found in Robert Smithson’s 1967 essay A Tour of the Monuments of Passaic, Ruins in Reverse draws attention to a subtly nuanced contemporary archaeology in which the tenuous line between reality and fiction is blurred. Tangible historical monuments are overwhelmed by the fictions they promote, while ordinary objects and signs gain a significance that makes them monumental.

Jose Carlos Martinat will create two special commissions for Ruins in Reverse, which will explore the idea of the discarded urban ruin and the signs and graffiti of London and Lima. The first commission will be on display at Tate Modern, consisting of assembled resin skins peeled from Lima’s city walls, while the second commission will take place in Lima with new material drawing on his London experience.

In her series of photographs No More Stars (Star Wars) 2010, Rä di Martino’s plays the part of an archaeologist uncovering the contemporary detritus of the cinematic industry. She photographs the abandoned Star Wars movie sets in the deserts of North Africa, which now appear like a strange archaeological site or an unofficial monument to Hollywood’s glorious past. Capturing these once emblematic backdrops, her images reveal how they have become part of the landscape after years of being buffeted by sand and the elements.

The works on display include Pablo Hare’s Monuments series 2005–2012, a sequence of photographs documenting the proliferation of new public statuary in Peru. Intended to embody the spirit of a place, these statues often fail to relate to their surroundings, such as a giant dinosaur on a remote hillside. Amalia Pica’s video work On Education 2008 also addresses public monuments in her work, by confronting the ubiquity of equestrian statuary through the lens of Jean Jacques Rousseau’s treatise An Education.

Eliana Otta’s Archaeology as Fiction 2010 presents a survey of the decline of the Peruvian record industry since its 1960s and 70s heyday, and the concurrent construction boom taking place in Lima. Her work uses photographs, vinyl records, cassettes and CDs to explore this urban transformation. Haroon Mirza addresses similar issues through his sound installation Cross section of a revolution 2011. This work combines tangible fragments of technological waste, such as record turntables and computer keyboards, with intangible fragments of the fast-paced, ever-changing Internet era.

Project Space: Ruins in Reverse is curated by Flavia Frigeri at Tate Modern and Sharon Lerner, at Museo de Arte de Lima -MALI. The curatorial exchange is supported by Tate International Council with the collaboration of Gasworks. The Project Space series has been made possible with the generous support of Catherine Petitgas.

Notes to editors
Project Space at Tate Modern (formerly the Level 2 gallery) is dedicated to presenting contemporary art through a series of collaborations with cultural organisations around the world. The programme brings together emerging curators from both Tate Modern and other international venues for contemporary art to work together on an exhibition for both locations. Based on curatorial exchange and dialogue, the series showcases the work of new, recently established or rediscovered international artists. The exhibitions therefore open up the possibility of introducing new work and interpretations within differing global contexts.  The curatorial exchanges are organised in collaboration with Gasworks.

This series of discursive exhibitions began in 2011 and, to date, has included collaborations with institutions in Amman, Lagos, Istanbul, Mexico City, Warsaw and Cairo. Forthcoming exhibitions are being developed with partners in Lima and New Delhi. The Project Space series aims to explore the most challenging art of today as well as the complexities of operating within a global context for contemporary art.

Tate Modern presents Project Space: Ruins in Reverse
Tate Modern
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