Candid Culture

Juliet Gardiner reviews the current exhibition at Tate Liverpool that celebrates the British flair for documentary film-making.

‘Making History’ explores the impact of documentary practice on British art throughout the twentieth century. It proves to be no one-way street: artistic forms and practices impact on the making of documentaries and both destabilize any complacencies we might entertain about transparent representations, about a neutral gaze, about authenticity and the legitimacy of surveillance – all issues that still have a burning relevance today. Documentaries such as those by Michael Moore, Capturing the Friedmans, Touching the Void and My Architect are recent critical and box office successes, while installation art using video and photographic forms that unsettle conventional notions of participation, vivify the current art scene and win the prizes. Now the exhibition at Tate Liverpool provides the opportunity to trace the complex evolution of this documentary impulse in Britain.


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