Art is a window on the world. Well, in the case of Daniel Buren’s Borrowing and Multiplying the Landscape, installed for the opening of Turner Contemporary in Margate last year, it is. Buren’s installation modifies the view of the sea beyond the windows of the gallery foyer by covering much of the glass with coloured tape so that the sea is seen through a circular window cut into the yellow stripes. In a sense the work forms an inverse sun framing, on my visit at least, the greyness of and English summer afternoon. Ah well.
The addition of mirrors on the walls at either side creates an infinite row of yellow stripes with circular windows, opening up the space in a disorientating but beautiful way. Given that my main gripe with Turner Contemporary is that – though the building, and particularly the gallery spaces within it, is beautiful – it’s, well, a bit small.
From the outside, Buren’s intervention disrupts the otherwise white and grey exterior, giving a small moment of colour. The circular window in the work reflects the sky and, at times, frames those on the inside looking out.
Buren has used stripes in other works, often making interventions into architectural spaces, typically altering the viewer’s perception of the space. Given the gallery’s location and Turner’s fascination with the light in Margate, the way way Borrowing and Multiplying the Landscape frames the view of the sea makes this a great intervention into this particular space. Sadly, as is the nature of works such as this, it was made as a temporary installation and has now gone, I think.