Shakeman- Christina Mackie
Record of an Encounter with an Art Work:
I visited the permanent collection at the Tate Britain, and was struck by Christina Mackie's Installation, 'Shakeman 2005' in room 28. It took up the end wall and was the height of the gallery. The whole structure seemed to be balancing on a knife-edge. It was made from planks and beams of cedar wood, perspex and strips of material. A wooden beam approximately one meter long was horizontally attached to the end wall, 2/3's of the way up.
There was a rope and pulley system; two interconnected straps of material running up from this beam and over another longer horizontal beam then down to a wooden structure at the base. This was made up of a short plank and boards arranged in upside down triangles on the ground.
I had recently seen the Phillip Petit film, 'Man on Wire' and was reminded of the image of him walking between the Twin Towers on the wire, holding his long balance pole.
I read the accompanying information and saw that Mackie was interested in, 'The power and vulnerability of nature, and the cycles it is subject to.' Something which fascinates me. It describes the instillation as toy-like and on the verge of collapse, in balance but not fixed. The artist wanted to evoke a feeling of vulnerability.
I liked the way Mackie had cut up strips of her own clothing to make the two supporting straps. By doing so, she successfully suggested her involvement in and closeness to her subject.