Doug Aitken, one of the world’s leading contemporary artists, has revealed that the first Sky Arts Ignition Series commission at Tate Liverpool will be “a fast moving portrait of modern creativity.” It was announced today that the work will be housed on Liverpool’s historic Albert Dock in a structure designed by world renowned British architect David Adjaye OBE. The commission will form part of the seventh Liverpool Biennial.

The Sky Arts Ignition Series launched in 2011, and will enable Sky Arts to back the creation of major new works of art as well as nurture emerging talent. Sky Arts Ignition: Doug Aitken will be the first project in the series, which will see Sky Arts collaborate with six arts organisations over the next three years in the creation of brand new works. For each of the chosen projects, Sky Arts will provide a cash investment of up to £200,000 and work with the arts partners to bring their projects to a wider audience, using Sky’s platform.

Sky Arts Ignition: Doug Aitken will be Aitken’s first public realm installation in the UK, showcasing his pioneering and ambitious approach to public art. The immersive installation will be comprised of a series of filmed conversations between Aitken and some of the world’s most established creative individuals. The project participants, who will be revealed later this summer, are creative visionaries of all ages and backgrounds, working across different art forms. Grounding their filmed thoughts and sound bites are two questions: where does the creative idea start and how is it realised?

Aitken will collaborate with acclaimed British architect David Adjaye on a temporary structure to house the work, which will be located on Liverpool’s Albert Dock. This deliberate separation from the traditional gallery space will create a new creative territory and cultural destination. Sky Arts Ignition: Doug Aitken will be the antithesis of long-winded lectures on the arts and will open the artistic process up to the viewer: looking to the future, while engaging individuals whose legacies have shaped contemporary culture. It will be free admission and will open to the public on 15 September 2012, continuing to 13 January 2013.

Aitken said:

“This project is about the roots of creativity. Many of the people in this project are working in very diverse mediums and it’s that common thread that I’m interested in. The project is very much about the empowerment of the viewer. I want the installation at Tate Liverpool to be a destination: a place that one can go to and walk into this field of ideas. It will be a celebration of the power of the individual and the forging of a borderless new creative territory – I’m incredibly excited.”

James Hunt, director of Sky Arts commented:

“At Sky Arts, it’s clear to us just how fascinated people are by the creative process that goes into making works of art. Doug’s plan for the first Sky Arts Ignition project really captures that; opening up the creative process and making it more relatable and accessible. That’s another thing that we try to do at Sky Arts, and Doug’s project fits with that ethos perfectly.”

Sky Arts has also announced the final three winners of the Sky Arts Ignition Futures Fund. Animator Drew Roper, artist Laurence Payot and theatre director Felix Mortimer will each receive a bursary of £30,000, joining Opera director Daisy Evans and animator Phoebe Boswell, who were announced as the first two winners in November 2011. The Futures Fund is designed to help young talent to bridge the development gap from school or college to becoming a working artist and offers mentoring alongside the bursary.

For more information on the Sky Arts Ignition Series, please visit the website at

Notes to Editor

Doug Aitken (b. California, 1968) is an established contemporary artist at the forefront of 21st century communication, widely known for his innovative fine art installations. Aitken’s body of work ranges from photography, sculpture and architectural interventions to films, sound, moving image pieces and installations. Utilising a wide array of media and artistic approaches, his eye leads us into a world where time, space, and memory are fluid concepts. His high profile commissions have included Sleepwalkers at the Museum of Modern Art, New York in 2006; Frontier at the Museum of Contemporary Art/Enel Contemporanea, Rome in 2009; a 2010 Artist’s Happening at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles and 2011’s Black Mirror at the DESTE Foundation project space, a performance co-produced with the Hellenic Festival, Hydra Island, Greece. His most recent, highly acclaimed commission Song 1 is a 360 degree projection on the exterior of the Hirshhorn Museum, Washington D.C.

David Adjaye is founder and Principal Architect of Adjaye Associates. Established in 2000, the firm has received international attention with work which has included exhibitions, temporary pavilions and major arts centres. The practice is currently engaged on the commission to design the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of African American Culture and History in Washington D.C. Adjaye was awarded the OBE for services to architecture in 2007.

Sky Arts: Sky Arts broadcasts 48 hours of the best arts and entertainment content from around the world across Sky Arts 1 and Sky Arts 2 daily. Recent highlights include the latest season of the Met Opera, Chekhov Comedy Shorts, a season of brand new plays starring the cream of British comedic talent, Tim Marlow on Sculpture 3D and The South Bank Sky Arts Awards.

Sky Arts also seeks to connect with culture on the ground; creating and collaborating with the best of the arts in the UK and Ireland to bring new experiences to life. The flagship show, The Book Show, now goes to leading literary festivals including Hay and Cheltenham. The Sky Arts Ignition Series will seek to collaborate with six arts organisations over the next three years in the creation of brand new works; Sky Arts Ignition Futures Fund will support five young artists with a bursary of £30,000 each as well as mentoring, enabling Sky Arts to back the creation of new works of art as well as nurture emerging talent. Following Sky Arts’ longterm partnerships with English National Ballet, English National Opera and leading public arts producers Artichoke, Sky Arts has always encouraged new formats and methods for accessing the arts; having beamed the world’s first live opera in 3D to cinemas across the UK and Ireland from ENO as well as streaming the world’s longest high definition broadcast online over 100 days of Antony Gormley’s 4th plinth project One&Other live from Trafalgar Square.


For press information, images and interviews please contact the Tate Liverpool Press Office: Rachel Gutteridge, Communications Manager on +44(0)151 702 7444 or email:

For more information on the Sky Arts Ignition Series, please contact: Manisha Ferdinand, Head of PR, Sky Arts on +44 (0)20 7032 2842 or email: