The Tate will not be staging a triennial exhibition in 2012. The institution stated that it will not be happening this year because renovation has begun on Tate Britain’s Millbank project and they have had to review and reschedule their program for 2012. The event has been running since 2006 which was curated by Beatrix Ruf, the director of the Kunsthalle Zurich, the 2009 exhibition curated by the Nicolas Bourriaud, the 2012 edition would have been the first under the new auspices of Penelope Curtis’s directorship. The spokesperson was unable to discuss the longterm future of the event.
The Triennial in the past has explored a major strand of contemporary practice: the appropriation or re-working of cultural material. While the requisition and juxtaposition of images, facts and formal elements is a well recognised strategy most commonly associated with post-modernism, the Triennial will identify a significant re-invigoration and transformation in such processes in current practice.
Various approaches to the use of reference material can be detected within the different generations of artists represented in the show: from John Stezaker’s Masks, an ongoing series of collages where postcards of landscapes obscure portraits of 1950’s film stars to Luke Fowler’s new film which uses archive material to explore the history of the English composer Cornelius Cardew’s Scratch Orchestra. For many of the artists, visual codes and imagery from competing rather than connecting influences are combined to create highly personal languages and fresh narratives. For example Rebecca Warren draws from a variety of sources, ranging from Degas to Helmut Newton and Robert Crumb, to create roughly modelled clay figures. Artists are forging new ways of apprehending reality, re-working ideas of authenticity and directness, often revisiting artistic practices that emerged in the 1960s and 1970s.