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PRINT April 2007

PIECE MOVEMENT: MARK WALLINGER’S STATE BRITAIN

“IS THIS FOR REAL?” The tone of the question was a mixture of disgust, sarcasm, and self-righteousness, but it was uttered just loud enough to betray some outright anxiety. It stopped me in my tracks. I had just passed the smartly dressed, bejeweled young woman who asked it and her tuxedoed beau as they made their way through Tate Britain’s grand Duveen Galleries to the opening of a dreadful exhibition of recent bronze sculptures by the Chapman brothers. Turning around, I could not see her face, but only that her hands were extended in front of her in a protective gesture. She might simply have closed her eyes.

The skeptical query was more to the point than the woman might have known, given that the this in question was State Britain, 2007, Mark Wallinger’s brilliantly titled installation occupying the museum’s central gallery through August 27. It is an exact replica of, indeed, a real

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