Altermodern review: 'The richest and most generous Tate Triennial yet'
Postmodernism is dead, at least according to the Tate – and something altogether weirder has taken its place. Adrian Searle wonders if this is the future of contemporary art
By Adrian Searle
[...] It seems absurd to bring in the writer WG Sebald at this point. Yet it is Sebald who Nicolas Bourriaud, the curator of the triennial, invokes, laying out the territory of what he calls the "Altermodern", an "other" modern – a rootless modernism for the 21st century, a synthesis of modernism and post-colonialism, in which the artist "turns cultural nomad". With their detached emotional tone, Sebald's books take us on journeys around Europe, into the past and across the uncertain terrains of memory, history and fiction.
"There are no longer roots to sustain forms, no exact cultural base to serve as a benchmark for variations, no nucleus, no boundaries for artistic language", says Bourriaud. Sebald's writings follow a similar wandering path, as do the real and imaginary journeys of the artists here. To which one might add one's own journeys around Altermodern and beyond it. It feels to me like a truism – but newness isn't the point.The show has its longueurs, but it is also the richest and most generous Tate Triennial to date. It is also the best-installed. There are clean, elegant rooms as well as clutter, a wide range of objects and installations, dramatic turns and quiet spaces.
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