Press Release

BP British Art Displays: Has the film already started?

Significant new acquisitions to Tate’s Collection by some of Britain’s most innovative contemporary artists go on display at Tate Britain.

Monday 27 June 2011 – Thursday 1 March 2012

Significant new acquisitions to Tate’s Collection by some of Britain’s most innovative contemporary artists go on display at Tate Britain today. Presented in a newly re-hung suite of contemporary galleries, works by artists including Marc Camille Chaimowicz, Enrico David, Cathy Wilkes and David Musgrave will be shown for the first time at Tate Britain. They will form part of an atmospheric installation, entitled Has the film already started?, which highlights the role of scene-setting and performance in British Art from the 1970s to the present day. 

Highlights among the new acquisitions include Marc Camille Chaimowicz’s groundbreaking Partial Eclipse 1980–2006, for which there will be a weekly live performance every Saturday afternoon at 15.00, and Cathy Wilkes’s (We are) Pro Choice 2008, a large-scale installation which brings together discarded everyday objects to create an unsettling tableau. A further group of recent acquisitions by artists including David Musgrave and Enrico David are also brought together to show ways in which the human body has been evoked and transformed through a range of collaged and assembled material.

Has the film already started? will trace the story of how performance and related ideas have come to occupy a defining place in the art of the past 30 years. It will show how these ideas have been transmitted across different generations between teachers and students as well as in reference to earlier artists. Displays of new acquisitions will be complemented by existing collection displays of contemporary art at Tate Britain which explore narrative and found objects including Mike Nelson’s labyrinthine The Coral Reef 2000 and recent work by Cerith Wyn Evans, from which the title Has the film already started? is taken. 

Material recently acquired by Tate Archive has also been selected to explore Genesis P-Orridge and Cosey Fanni Tutti’s provocative activity in the 1970s, including the infamous Prostitution exhibition at the ICA in 1976. Their work under the name COUM Transmissions has been powerfully influential and illustrates the complex relationship between physical performance and its documentation, representation and legacy.

An installation by Corin Sworn is shown as part of Tate Britain’s Art Now programme of emerging British art. In the first major display of her work in London, Sworn presents Endless Renovation 2010, evolved from the chance discovery of a collection of slides and a diary in a skip outside the artist’s house. Sworn’s piece reflects her interest in the ways in which objects are borrowed, appropriated and reconfigured to tell various stories.

Has the film already started? is curated by Lizzie Carey-Thomas, Katharine Stout, Clarrie Wallis and Andrew Wilson, Curators of Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain, alongside Assistant Curators Helen Delaney, Leyla Fakhar and Carmen Juliá.

Editor notes

BP British Art Displays is supported by BP
BP has supported Tate’s permanent collection displays at Millbank since 1990, first at the Tate Gallery and then from the opening of Tate Britain in 2000 to the present. BP's continued support allows Tate Britain to create a broad and dynamic displays programme which explores in depth British art from 1500 to the present.

About BP and its cultural support in the UK
BP has supported arts and culture in the UK for over 30 years and currently focuses its support on long-term partnerships with four world class institutions; The British Museum, The National Portrait Gallery, The Royal Opera House and Tate Britain. More than 2.4 million people across the UK attended a BP supported event in 2010. With its support of the London 2012 Open Weekend and the Cultural Olympiad, BP is helping to showcase the UK’s cultural excellence and diversity to an even wider audience.