Liam Gillick

Annlee You Proposes


In Tate Modern
Liam Gillick born 1964
Aluminium, 3 lamps and video, 3 monitors, colour and sound
Overall display dimensions variable
Video Duration: 3min 00sec
Presented by the artist 2002


This is a composite work comprising a single-screen video computer animation and a group of sculptural elements which may be installed in variable configurations, depending on the space and location.

The sculptural component was created to launch the new sculpture court outside the Clore Gallery at Tate Britain, where the work was installed in September 2001. It consists of a series of open cubes made from sheets of different coloured, powder-coated aluminium, bent at the edges and riveted together. The cubes may be lined up end-to-end to form bench-like structures, or stacked to resemble shelving units. Larger flat cubes resemble low tables. Three simple globe-shaped lights are mounted on coloured metal poles to complete the arrangement of minimalist inspired, outdoor sculptural furniture. The range of eight colours and the cube structure were selected specifically to complement the bright green paintwork on the grid of square glass panes set into the entrance to the Clore. The idea for public furniture stems from a project Gillick originally conceived for the artists’ building at the Centre for Contemporary Art, Kitakyushu, Japan, where he was a guest professor in 2000. During his month there, he designed an installation in the communal area of the studios comprising low tables, benches and bookshelves along with Japanese lanterns.

The video component of Annlee You Proposes is part of a wider project entitled No Ghost Just a Shell. In 2000 French artists Pierre Huyghe (born 1962) and Philippe Parreno (born 1964) bought the character Annlee from Kworks, a Japanese Manga agency. At this stage she was an inexpensive, nameless, two-dimensional image with minimal qualities, designed to be used in Japanese computer animation or comic books. Huyghe and Parreno modelled the character in 3-D to create two animated films, Anywhere Out of the World (by Parreno, 2000) and Two Minutes Out of Time (by Huyghe, 2000), featuring Annlee. In the former, Annlee describes her status as a simple, empty commodity, destined for quick disposal (in Japanese animation, the most complex characters last longest and are therefore most expensive). Huyghe and Parreno then offered Annlee to various artists, inviting them to give her the chance of living by adding depth to her character and giving her a history. Gillick had shared a collaborative discourse with the two artists during the 1990s and he was included in the project. He worked with the London based computer animation director Lars Magnus Holmgren (a.k.a. Dr Frankenskippy) to produce a three minute section of animation. He sees the short film as working ‘like a trailer, a clip for a longer narrative, setting into motion a sense of occupation and activity that runs before, during and after any visiting time’ (quoted in Liam Gillick: Annlee You Proposes, p.12).

While he was in Kitakyushu, Gillick discovered that the city, which is dominated by its steel industries, was the original target for the first atomic bomb dropped by the Americans at the end of the Second World War. By a fluke of the weather, it was missed and the bomb was diverted to Hiroshima. In his video, the Annlee character refers to this event, to a constructed identity and to semi-public and semi-private spaces. The animation also includes a computer generated model of the sculptural element of the installation.

During the work’s exhibition at Tate Britain in 2001, the video component was projected on to a window of the Clore. The artist has agreed that it may be exhibited as a video installation or as a single channel monitor work. It was created in an edition of four plus two artist’s proofs.

Further reading:
Liam Gillick: Annlee You Proposes, exhibition brochure, Tate Britain, London 2001, reproduced front cover, pp.2, 5-6, 9-10 and 13 in colour
Liam Gillick: The Wood Way, exhibition catalogue, Whitechapel Art Gallery, London 2002, p.58
No Ghost Just a Shell: Pierre Huyghe and Philippe Parreno, exhibition catalogue, Van Abbemuseum, Eindhoven, Institute of Visual Culture, Cambridge, Kunsthalle Zurich 2003, pp.102-15 and 118-19, reproduced pp.107-15 and 118-19

Elizabeth Manchester
June 2004

Display caption

Annlee You Proposes comprises both a virtual animated space and a physical architectural space. While it is possible to move and interact among the designed elements of furniture in the room, Ann Lee’s monologue alludes to another unreachable place beyond. Gillick likens the video element to ‘a trailer, a clip for a longer narrative, setting into motion a sense of occupation and activity that runs before, during and after any visiting time’. The sculptural furniture elements also posit a specific, but open-ended scenario, a series of possible movements or relations that could take place.

Gallery label, May 2009

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