Mark Wallinger: State Britain

Artvehicle 8/Recommended

15th January 2007 — 27th August 2007

'State Britain' is an exact and meticulous reconstruction of Brian Haw's protest against the Iraq War on Parliament Square prior to a change in laws introduced in 2006. Haw began his protest in June 2001 and has remained stationed outside the Houses of Parliament ever since. However, since the passing of the Serious Organised Crime and Police Act of May 2006, Haw's once sprawling demonstration has been significantly reduced in size. The law prohibits unauthorised protests within a one square kilometre radius of Parliament Square. Taken literally, this exclusion zone bisects the Tate Galleries, positioning State Britain half in and half out of its jurisdiction. Haw's demonstration shows us what we don't want to see, the harrowing and violent imagery of war, death and mutilation which spares no one; its easy to see why Tony didn't want it on his doorstep and can only be viewed with the same morbid grotesque fascination as a car crash. However, it is Wallinger's position in all of it that is most difficult to fathom. In delivering to the Tate an exact replica of a vehement protest, Wallinger has created a complex and moving work, visually and philosophically loaded to the hilt.


Tate Britain
London SE1 9TG

Daily, 10am-5.50pm