Some art work depicts the emotions and experiences of loss like losing a loved one or losing one’s mind but what does it mean when it is the art work itself that is lost?
The Tate curated Gallery of Lost Art is a year long online showcase telling the story behind lost artworks by famous modern and contemporary artists. Loss here is a broad term and includes theft, intentional destruction, disappearance and just sheer bad luck.
The warehouse-like, ingenious website allows the viewer to click himself in and out of research materials (letters, audio, films, essays, photographs) and ‘wander’ from Tracey Emin’s tent “Everyone I have Ever Slept With” destroyed in the famous Saatchi warehouse fire, to Otto Dix’s disappeared trench inspired art.
Jennifer Mundy, curator of The Gallery of Lost Art, says: “Art history tends to be the history of what has survived. But loss has shaped our sense of art’s history in ways that we are often not aware of.’”
The Gallery of Lost Art shows that loss does not have to be tied to deep regret but can spark creativity, the beginning of something different and the motivation to keep creating. The gallery, staying true to its concept, will last for one year before itself being lost. It launches with over twenty artworks, with a new work being added each week for the next six months. The Gallery of Lost Art has achieved something mesmerizing: creating a virtual space entirely made up out of nothing but traces, memories, shadows and loss.
Text by Grashina Gabelmann