To celebrate the newly redesigned Tate Britain, fashion photographer and provocateur Miles Aldridge was among several of the country’s top creative minds invited by the Tate to re-envision an artwork from the gallery’s vast collection. Aldridge chose British artist Mark Gertler's ‘Merry-Go-Round’, painted in 1916 at the height of WWI, and the film follows his creative process as he re-imagines it through his lens.
Gertler’s seminal wartime painting depicts a group of military and civilian figures seemingly trapped on an endlessly revolving carousel. ‘I feel like I’ve always been drawn to this painting,' says the photographer. 'It’s a picture I saw very early on as a secondary school student. It’s kind of sweet, but has this amazing kind of menace.'
Taking a painting, reinterpreting it as a 3D set and photographing it - while staying true to its spirit - is no easy task. ‘The challenge will be to do anything as interesting as Mark Gertler did with his painting, because the palette of the painting is fantastic - pretty much perfect,’ explained Aldridge during the shoot. 'To me, it’s like a precursor of pop art - kind of industrial in a way, with its limited tones.’
To wit, his photographic frieze draws on the dream-like quality and colours of the original painting, while injecting the photographer’s signature gloss-licked surrealism into the scene.
The first phase of the Tate Britain revamp, conceived by London-based practice Caruso St John Architects, launches on 19 November. See our December issue - out on 14 November - to read about its transformation.