Press Release

Tate Britain Christmas Tree 2010

Tate Britain has commissioned conceptual artist Giorgio Sadotti to create the Tate Britain Christmas Tree 2010.

9 December 2010 – 5 January 2011

This year Tate Britain has commissioned conceptual artist Giorgio Sadotti to create the Tate Britain Christmas Tree. The work, entitled Flower Ssnake, will be on display from 10 December 2010 until 5 January 2011.

For Flower Ssnake, Sadotti has chosen to display a Norwegian Spruce in the gallery’s neoclassical Rotunda, but has resisted the tradition of decorating it. At the bottom of the naked tree rests a coiled bullwhip, waiting to be used. On the twelfth night of Christmas, a date which traditionally marks the end of the festive season, the tree will be spectacularly animated in a one-off performance for the public. The gallery will be opened at 19.00 on the evening of Wednesday 5 January 2011, when the spell of Christmas will be dramatically driven out of the tree with the whip. Places to the event are free and details are printed on decorated flyers which visitors can keep as a reminder. To ensure a place at the performance, free tickets can be collected from the Tate Members’ desk in the Rotunda.

Sadotti is known for an art practice that ‘celebrates the power of the nothing’. In restraining from decorating the tree in its traditional dress, the artist asks us to recognise its natural elegance and think about the potential of these objects – of the tree held in time expectantly until its potential is fulfilled, and of the whip patiently waiting to be used.

Giorgio Sadotti said:

For me the challenge was to present a tree that was naturally effortless. A tree that managed to maintain its dignity and timeless grace. A tree that remained sublime. A tree that was familiar but strange, like all trees but no other. A tree that had potential to become another. A tree that talked.  A tree as a tree as art.

Giorgio Sadotti (born 1955) was born in Manchester and currently lives and works in London. He studied at Trent Polytechnic, Manchester University and University of Syracuse in New York. His practice has involved working with sculpture, sound, performance, collage and photography and he has participated in many exhibitions worldwide including shows at Tate Modern, London; MK Gallery, Milton Keynes; The Henry Moore Institute, Leeds; PS 1 MoMA, New York; The Whitechapel Gallery, London and Kunsthalle, Vienna.

This is the twenty-third year that Tate has invited a leading contemporary artist to create a Christmas tree for the gallery. Previously commissioned artists are: Tacita Dean (2009),  Bob and Roberta Smith (2008), Fiona Banner (2007), Sarah Lucas (2006), Gary Hume (2005), Richard Wentworth (2004), Mark Wallinger (2003), Tracey Emin (2002), Yinka Shonibare (2001). Catherine Yass (2000), Mat Collishaw (1999), Richard Wilson (1998), Michael Landy (1997), Julian Opie (1996), Cornelia Parker (1995), Cathy de Monchaux (1994), Shirazeh Houshiary (1993), Craigie Aitchison (1992), Boyd Webb (1991), Lisa Milroy (1990), Tim Head (1989) and Bill Woodrow (1988).