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Patrick Keiller at Tate Britain, 2012

— August 2011

Associated media

Patrick Keiller, Robinson in Ruins 2 Goethe © The artist

Renowned artist and filmmaker Patrick Keiller will create an ambitious new project for the Tate Britain Commission 2012, supported by Sotheby’s. His unique installation, developed especially for the neoclassical Duveen galleries at the heart of Tate Britain, will be unveiled on 27 March 2012. The Tate Britain Commission invites an artist to develop a new work in response to the Tate Collection, highlighting the continuum of visual and intellectual ideas between historic and contemporary art.

Patrick Keiller is one of Britain’s most critically acclaimed independent filmmakers. Over the past 30 years he has developed a range of imaginative and highly original films which combine deadpan images of British landscape, rural and urban, with a witty narration which draws together wide-ranging literary anecdotes, historical episodes, current affairs, economic critique and offbeat humour.

The most notable examples of Keiller’s distinctive approach to film-making are the series of essay films that chart the progress of the fictional character Robinson, an elusive would-be scholar who wanders the English landscape, taking the viewer on unpredictable journeys. Robinson visits sites as well known as the Bank of England or Blackpool, and others less so: the site of a meteorite fall in Oxfordshire in 1830, and nearby scenes of agrarian rebellion. With incisive commentary, voiced by Paul Scofield and latterly Vanessa Redgrave, the first in the series, London (1994), presents a witty portrait of a city in decline, while Robinson in Space (1997) offers an exploration of England’s economic landscape in the 1990s and the recent  Robinson in Ruins (2010) recounts Robinson’s travels in search of the origins of ‘capitalist catastrophe’.

In other work Keiller has explored ways of assembling and displaying film beyond the familiar cinema format, creating what the artist describes as ‘moving image landscapes’. For the large-scale installation Londres, Bombay (2006) for Le Fresnoy, Lille, the artist created a 30-screen moving image reconstruction of Mumbai’s railway station Chhatrapati Shivaji Terminus, one of the largest gothic revival stations in the world. In another installation, The City of the Future (2007) shown at BFI gallery the artist created a virtual landscape of the UK at the turn of the 20th century.

In his work for the Commission, Patrick Keiller will explore the Duveen Galleries’ spatial and other possibilities. He comments: ‘As someone most usually involved with images and the linearity of narrative, I’m delighted by the invitation to devise an exhibit for a sculpture gallery’.

See our Photography & media section for a review of a new book on cinema as an art form

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