“This commission for the London 2012 Festival delivers on our key values – brilliant art by a world leading artist that can be accessed by the public for free. I am sure this will be another ground-breaking commission for Tate by one of the world’s most interesting and original artists, and a highlight of London’s celebrations this summer.” – Ruth Mackenzie, Director, London 2012 Festival
Tate Modern has unveiled the first live commission in The Unilever Series created by the artist Tino Sehgal. Using movement, sound and conversation, Sehgal’s work titledThese associations draws on the existing atmosphere of the Turbine Hall and its unique position as a public space within a museum. This commission, the thirteenth in the series, will be present throughout opening hours every day from 24 July to 28 October.
Tino Sehgal has risen to prominence for his innovative works which consist purely of live encounters between people. Avoiding the production of any objects, he has pioneered a radical and yet entirely viewer-oriented approach to making art. His works respond to and engage with the gallery visitor directly, creating social situations through the use of conversation, sound and movement, as well as philosophical and economic debate. Having trained in both political economics and choreography, Sehgal’s works are renowned for their high levels of interaction, intimacy, and critical reflection on their environment.
Celebrated for its unconventional museum atmosphere of exhilaration and social interaction, the Turbine Hall is here inhabited by an assembly of participants whose choreographed actions draw on the behaviour of groups and collectives. At times almost indistinguishable from the visitors in the Turbine Hall, at others a clearly defined and constructed situation, These associations can be perceived quite differently from the elevated position of the bridge or gallery windows as opposed to the floor of the Turbine Hall, where visitors are potentially swept up in the movement and dialogue of the piece.
The Turbine Hall is historically a site of energy production through the massive turbine engines that once occupied this cavernous space. Now emptied of its industrial apparatus, the hall is instead occupied by the physical and vocal energy of the participants and visitors, whose movement, sound and interaction produce another type of force. Sehgal’s work develops from the already existing atmosphere of the Turbine Hall that offers the experience of being part of a group rather than following the historical precedent of the museum space as a site for individual contemplation and controlled social deportment.
Sehgal was born in London in 1976 and currently lives and works in Berlin. He is currently included in Documenta XIII and had a solo exhibitnion at the Guggenheim Museum in 2010. Sehgal represented Germany at the Venice Biennale in 2005. Solo exhibitions of his work have been held around the world, including Villa Reale, Milan; ICA, London; Kunsthaus Bregenz; and the Marian Goodman Gallery, New York.
This commission is part of the London 2012 Festival, the finale of the Cultural Olympiad. It is curated by Jessica Morgan, The Daskalopoulos Curator, International Art, Tate Modern and produced by Asad Raza. The commission is also supported by the Goethe Institut.
Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern said: “Once again, The Unilever Series has inspired an artist to respond to the Turbine Hall in a unique and innovative way. Tino Sehgal’s piece has managed to fill this vast space with life and energy using nothing but the human body and social interaction as its medium, and to transform the museum into a biopolitical and anarchic experience.”
Sue Garrard, Senior Vice President, Global Communications, Unilever plc said: “Tino Sehgal is the thirteenth artist commissioned for The Unilever Series, making it one of the longest running and most successful of art sponsorships. To date almost 30 million people have seen the various installations in The Unilever Series. We are confident that millions more will come to see Tino Sehgal’s work this summer.”
The Unilever Series of annual commissions was launched in 2000 when Tate Modern opened with Louise Bourgeois’s I Do, I Undo, I Redo. Spanish artist Juan Muñoz was commissioned in 2001 with Double Bind, and the first British artist was Anish Kapoor with Marsyas in 2002. Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project illuminated the Turbine Hall in 2003 and Bruce Nauman’s sound installation Raw Materials opened in 2004. In 2005 Rachel Whiteread created her installation EMBANKMENT, followed by Carsten Höller’s interactive spiralling slides Test Site in 2006. In 2007 Doris Salcedo’s Shibboleth broke open the floor of the Turbine Hall, while Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s TH.2058transformed the Turbine Hall into a futuristic shelter in 2008. Miroslaw Balka created the eerie pitch black chamber How It Is in 2009, and in 2010 Ai Weiwei unveiled a landscape of over 100 million hand-made porcelain Sunflower Seeds. Tacita Dean’s FILM in 2011 was the first work in the series dedicated to the moving image, celebrating unique analogue filmmaking techniques.
Unilever’s sponsorship of The Unilever Series at Tate Modern began in 2000 and has inspired almost 30 million visitors to Tate Modern. The commission is also the basis for cultural exchange thanks to the success of The Unilever Series: turbinegeneration. Launched in 2009, turbinegeneration is an online education project linking schools across the globe. Over 30 countries are now taking part in the project and the number continues to grow. The Unilever Series and the associated education programme reflect Unilever’s commitment to inspirational and thought-provoking art.
Tate Modern, Turbine Hall 24 July – 28 October 2012 Open every day from 10.00 – 18.00 and until 22.00 on Friday and Saturday Admission free