Tate Modern Turbine Hall
14 October 2008 – 13 April 2009
Tate Modern today unveils the latest commission in The Unilever Series. TH.2058 by Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster looks 50 years into the future, as the inhabitants of London take shelter in the Turbine Hall from a never-ending rain. Filled with 200 bunk beds scattered with books,the animal forms of gargantuan sculptures, a massive LED screen playing edited extracts from science-fiction and experimental films, and piercing lights that suggest some unseen surveillance, the Turbine Hall has taken on the appearance of an epic film set.
TH.2058 is an exploration of some of the artistic ideas that have preoccupied Gonzalez-Foerster over the last twenty years. The notion of the shelter, for instance, is partly inspired by her ideas of both real and fictional situations when London has been under attack, whether by flooding, bombing or invasion. It can also be traced back to her series Chambres, a sequence of environments which recreated fictional or personal and domestic spaces.
The animal-related forms of sculptures by Louise Bourgeois, Alexander Calder, Henry Moore, Bruce Nauman, Claes Oldenburg and Coosje van Bruggen have mutated, growing 25% in size. Some look back to previous installations from The Unilever Series, while others such as Calder’s soaring Flamingo which stands at 20 metres, relate to an environmental form of public sculpture. The inclusion of Oldenburg and van Bruggen pays homage to their radical introduction of the blow-up, a distortion seminal to much late twentieth-century art and one taken up by the contemporary artist Maurizio Cattelan.
The Last Film, which plays on the huge LED screen overlooking the Turbine Hall, is similarly an assemblage of quotations selected by the artist from the experimental films of Chris Marker and Peter Watkins, and the science fiction of George Lucas and Nicolas Roeg among many others. Scenes of shelter and archives are drawn from Richard Fleischer’s Soylent Green and Alain Resnais’s Toute la mémoire du monde, alongside sequences of urban expectation from Peter Weir’s The Last Wave, the apocalyptic explosion of Michelangelo Antonioni’s Zabriskie Point and the vision of a world without books in François Truffaut’s adaptation of Fahrenheit 451.
Twenty book titles have been selected and distributed on the beds. These illuminate the themes and thinking that underlie TH.2058, and include Ray Bradbury’s Fahrenheit 451, Jeff Noon’s Vurt, Enrique Vila-Matas’s El mal de Montano and Catherine Dufour’s Le Goût del’immortalité. These are accompanied by the aural presence of The 1958 Song, a corrupted bossa nova medley by Arto Lindsay that plays on a lonely radio situated on one of the beds and the gushing sound of rainfall that dominates the visitors entrance to the environment of TH.2058.
Widely regarded as one of France’s leading artists of the last two decades, Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster was born in Strasbourg, France in 1965. She now lives in Paris and Rio de Janeiro. 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.
There will be a fully illustrated catalogue published by Tate Publishing in November, with contributions by French science fiction and fantasy writer Catherine Dufour, French film producer Luc Lagier, Brazilian art historian Lisette Lagnado, British novelist Jeff Noon, the artist Philippe Parreno and Spanish writer Enrique Vila-Matas.
Notes to Editor
Gavin Neath, Senior Vice President, Global Communications, Unilever, said:
The Unilever Series has an unrivalled track record of creating challenging, innovative and inspirational modern art installations since its inception eight years ago. Dominique Gonzalez-Foerster’s work carries on this tradition with yet another thought-provoking commission which is sure to spark widespread discussion and debate.
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 ran 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.