Tate Modern Turbine Hall
14 October 2008 – 13 April 2009
Tate is delighted to announce that Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is the next artist invited to create the Unilever Series commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in 2008. Born in Strasbourg, France in 1965, Gonzalez-Foerster now lives and works in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. This will be the artist’s first public commission in the UK and it will be unveiled on Monday 13 October 2008.
Widely regarded as one of France’s leading artists of the last two decades, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster creates highly evocative and atmospheric artworks. Using light, sound, photography, film and everyday objects, she constructs ‘environments’ in which the viewer is invited to participate.
In recent large-scale exhibitions and commissions, Gonzalez-Foerster has led the viewer through immersive sequences of experiences. These included the sound of tropical rainfall (Promenade, 2007), a twenty-first century panorama of various urban centres (Panorama, 2007), and a son et lumière, sound and light experience (Cosmodrome, 2001). These formed part of a major survey exhibition Expodrome at the Musée d’art moderne de la ville de Paris in 2007.
In works such as Séance de Shadows II (1998), shown in The World as a Stage exhibitionat Tate Modern last year, Gonzalez-Foerster transformed a room into a theatre of performing shadows. The movement of visitors entering the room triggered a series of bright lights which cast shadows onto a deep-blue painted wall, drawing attention to visitors’ bodies, and their roles as both actors within and viewers of the piece.
Characterised by her unique approach to sense of place, Gonzalez-Foerster’s early works often recall specific moments, sites, and ideas. These range from personal experience in Nos années 70, 1992, comprising a sequence of rooms painted in the vibrant colours and based on her family home in the 1970s, to the collective experience of hotel room décor in Hotel Colour, 1995 and the urban solitude of Un Chambre En Ville,1996. In each carefully lit mises-en-scène, Gonzalez-Foerster arranges the elements which make up the environment, such as photographs, books and furniture, with great precision.
Gonzalez-Foerster’s artistic practice moves away from the strictly biographical and autobiographical in recent works, to create environments which are other-worldly and more cinematic in style. Film is an important part of Gonzalez-Foerster’s oeuvre, often showing urban life in cities around the world. Riyo, 1999 for example, was shot on the banks of the river in Kyoto, Japan which was one of a range of films shown recently in Expodrome, Paris.
Vicente Todoli: Director, Tate Modern said:
“The Unilever Series is one of the most anticipated art commissions of the year in the world. Chosen for her remarkable ability to create unique and immersive environments, we look forward to seeing how Gonzalez-Foerster’s commission will transform our experience of the Turbine Hall”.
Patrick Cescau, Group Chief Executive, Unilever said:
“Unilever is delighted that Tate has asked Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster to take on one of the art world’s biggest challenges. We look forward to her commission – her first in the UK – which will no doubt capture the imagination of the public like the work of her eight predecessors in The Unilever Series. Unilever’s sponsorship of Tate Modern is one of the most successful, well-respected and widely recognised arts sponsorships in the UK and reflects our commitment to the arts, dating back to Lord Leverhulme himself.”
The Unilever Series: Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster is curated by Jessica Morgan, Curator of Contemporary Art, Tate Modern assisted by Ann Coxon, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.
Notes to Editor
The Unilever Series of annual commissions was launched in 2000 when Tate Modern opened with Louise Bourgeois’s I Do, I Undo, I Redo. The Spanish artist Juan Muñoz was the second artist commissioned in 2001 with Double Bind, and the first British artist to be commissioned was Anish Kapoor with Marsyas in 2002. Olafur Eliasson’s Weather Project illuminated the Turbine Hall in 2003 and Bruce Nauman’s mesmerising sound installation, Raw Materials, opened in October 2004. In 2005 Rachel Whiteread created her installation EMBANKMENT, and this was followed by Carsten Höller’s interactive spiralling slides, Test Site, which allowed visitors to travel through the vast space. Doris Salcedo created a subterranean sculpture that runs the length of the building, dramatically breaking open the floor of the Turbine Hall for Shibboleth which opened in October 2007.
Unilever’s sponsorship of The Unilever Series at Tate Modern began in 2000 and has recently been extended until 2012. The Unilever Series and the associated education programmes run in conjunction with Tate (the Unilever International Schools Art Project – UISAP – and The Unilever Series: Turbinegeneration) all reflect Unilever’s commitment to inspirational and thought-provoking art. The Unilever Series has inspired over 19 million visitors to Tate Modern and in the seven years of UISAP, an estimated 125,000 children have benefited from a first class education resource in schools throughout the world.