Goshka Macuga, ‘The nature of the beast’ (2009)
Macuga was commisioned to make new work by the Whitechapel Gallery in London, where Picasso’s ‘Guernica’ had once been exhibited. Inspired by this historic fact, Macuga made a replica of the Guernica tapestry that Nelson Rockefeller commisioned in 1955. Some thirty years later this was lent to the United Nations Headquarters in New York where it has hung ever since outside the Security Council. Offered as a deterrent to war, in 2003 the tapestry was covered by a blue curtain in front of which Colin Powell delivered his fateful speech on weapons of mass destruction in Iraq.
Macuga’s installation ‘The nature of the beast’ in the Whitechapel Gallery consisted of the Guernica’s replica, as well as a round meeting table (a symbol of democracy) in front of it. The room had been designed to accommodate meetings, discussions and debates around the central table, with Guernica once again as a backdrop. Groups were invited to organise these events free of charge during opening hours.