Tate Britain: Age of Terror

I visited Age of Terror at Imperial War Museum quite a few months ago now, with the intention of reviewing it. I didn’t quite get around to it at the time, but better late than never. Even if there is only one month today left of the exhibition…

Age of Terror is Imperial War Museum’s newest ‘blockbuster’ exhibition. Focussing on how terrorism has been represented in contemporary art, the exhibition was an engaging and enjoyable access to processing the incomprehensible age of terrorism. Age of Terror includes work by 40 British and international artists, including Ai Weiwei, Grayson Perry, Gerhard Richter, Jenny Holzer, Mona Hatoum, Alfredo Jaar, Coco Fusco and Jake & Dinos Chapman.

Although my understanding of art is minimal, I am a big fan of Grayson Perry’s artworks – as his work is predominantly political in nature, I’ve always enjoyed it’s satirical humour. I read a quote the other day, which I paraphrase as ‘satire is only satire if you’re mocking the powerful, otherwise you’re just bullying’. Grayson Perry certainly mocks the powerful. However, this piece is slightly different, Dolls at Dungeness September 11th 2001 (2001) depicts war planes flying over the heads of dolls. While the piece touches upon themes of fear and terror, Perry still uses his signature dark humour to make it accessible and ‘enjoyable’.

One of my favourite pieces was Iván Navarro’s The Twin Towers. It’s inclusion in Age Of Terror (2011), is exhibited in the UK for the first time. ‘The Twin Towers’ is a light installation, one that is an optical illusion that appears as an infinitely concave hole in the ground. Of course the implied meaning is explicit, the infinite holes in the ground reflecting the endless loss of both lives and the magnitude of the buildings themselves.

Age Of Terror, despite Jonathan Jones’ scathing review, is brilliant. While admittedly my knowledge in understanding art in any real sense is limited, Age Of Terror evoked what was likely the curators intention – a sense of how individuals reflect upon our age of terror in different ways and express this loss and fear in a variety of forms.

Open until 28th May

(Image from IWM) 


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