Margaret Tait, 1976
As a coda to the longer, colourised Place of Work, Margaret Tait’s Tailpiece sees her long-time home and eventually work studio in Orkney emptied of its furniture. Tait’s sentient camera lingers on dust-coated fireplaces and overgrown shrubs; on the efflorescence of floorboards and cracks in the walls. Artistic bliss is wrapped up in architecture, it is purveyed by the saccharine voiceover that flits between children speaking, poetry, and music.
Beyond its haptic visuals and highly mobile camerawork, Tailpiece addresses Tait’s reluctance to disentangle her artistry from its domestic roots.
Tait's attentiveness towards domestic-artistic settings recalls Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own, a feminist treatise that condemns the historic prevention of women's creativity and implores the need for women-claimed creative spaces.
Tait's video art emerges from an individual take on the profoundly philosophical; suffusing audio with domiciliary images reimagines, for Tait, inexpressable, somatic personal memories.
Accepting the passage of time, embracing it even, Tailpiece captures Tait’s departure from a place so heavily imbued with retrospective feeling. Tailpiece etches life into its surface; it continues on in the vacant rooms; it is a bid farewell.