Unilever Abandons Tate Modern Turbine Hall Commission Sponsorship

Corporate sponsor Unilever is ending its 12-year relationship as the official supporter of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall commission. The project, an annual event has seen prominent artists such as the Chinese dissident artist Ai Weiwei, Sculptor Anish Kapoor and the late Louise Bourgeois create installations.

The £4.41 million sponsorship has resulted in 13 major works for The Series.The Unilever Series of 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.2058 transformed 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 Series at Tate Modern 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.This year’s commission by Tino Sehgal will be the last one Unilever sponsors. The gallery commented that they would seek a new sponsor for the 2014 commission. Tate Modern will now have time to find a new sponsor, as they will be closing the Turbine Hall next year due to the expansion project by architects Herzog & de Meuron. Other Tate sponsors include the BP oil company and the Bloomberg business and financial news.

Photo © ArtLyst 2010

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