In Self-Burial (Television Interference Project) (1969), Keith Arnatt inserted into television programmes photographs that showed him gradually sinking into the ground. With this project and other interventions in mass media and public space, which Arnatt called “situations”, he became one of Britain’s major conceptual artists. Born in 1930, he studied painting and later made sculptures, but much of his work from the 1960s until his death in 2008 had a more analytical attitude towards criticism of institutions and the role of the artist. In this kind of artwork, he always used photography and texts, and in 1982 he wrote Sausages and Food, in which he argued that the camera is not merely a tool to document, but rather a device with which to make and think art. Now, Tate Britain has used this suggestive publication title to give focus to Arnatt’s photographs, which are on special display until October. You can also see Arnatt at The Mostyn Gallery in Wales, in Keith Arnatt and ‘YOU’, a presentation of his later artistic works, such as the series of boxes from 2005, three years before his death.
Tate Britain, London, until 6 October 2013 and Mostyn Gallery, Llandudno, until 7 July 2013.
Keith Arnatt: I'm a Real Photographer
Currently exhibiting at the Photographers' Gallery, Arnatt's work focuses mainly on images of waste. But in the spirit of John Cage, who emancipated extraneous sounds, the traffic hum or police siren, allowing them to intermingle with the sounds of violins and the like, Arnatt attends, through the lens, to things that have been forgotten, left, thrown away, discarded or orphaned.