UBS Openings: The Long Weekend 2009 is transforming Tate Modern over the late May bank holiday weekend with a programme of dramatic live events and free, interactive activities. Now in its fourth year, this major arts festival celebrates extraordinary moments of fusion between different art forms such as performance, film, installation and music. Programmed to animate the works included in the annual rehang of Tate Modern, the four-day event attracts over 100,000 visitors each year.
This year’s festival is inspired by the opening of a new wing of displays, Energy and Process, which explores Arte Povera, Post Minimalism and their legacy of merging art and life together by using humble, everyday materials and viewer participation. Visitors of all ages are invited to experience music, performance and workshops that illuminate the ideas and spirit behind this art movement and to play a part in iconic art works by renowned artists such as Robert Morris and Michelangelo Pistoletto.
Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall is being taken over by a reconstruction of Robert Morris’s seminal Tate installation. First created for his 1971 show at The Tate Gallery, it was closed down due to the ‘unbridled enthusiasm’ and ‘exceptionally exuberant and energetic participation’ it excited in visitors. 38 years later, Robert Morris has worked with Tate to recreate this installation especially for UBS Openings: The Long Weekend. Visitors are able to navigate the space by climbing, see-sawing and sliding around the huge interactive sculptures and objects including beams, tunnels, ramps and rollers.
One of the key figures of Arte Povera, Michelangelo Pistoletto, is creating a large sphere out of newspapers from around the world to be paraded through the streets of Southwark. Echoing a similar piece created in Turin between 1966-8, the artist will encourage the public to join the globe of newsprint in a procession leading to the gallery. Adding to the lively atmosphere of the Turbine Hall during the day, a newly commissioned, one-off performance devised by contemporary artist Paola Pivi will form the latest instalment in the artist’s characteristically playful, irreverent and sometimes surreal oeuvre. Meanwhile, Contrappunto Dialettico Alla Mente 1968 by Luigi Nono, one of the most important avant-garde composers of the twentieth century and a contemporary of many of the key figures of Arte Povera, will reverberate around the giant space - using speaking voices cut up, speeded up and in every way disrupted to create a soundscape reminiscent of the revolutionary spirit of 1968.
Throughout the four day festival, the galleries are being filled with music. On Level 5, a cellist will bring Jannis Kounellis’s poetic work Untitled (1971) to life by playing next to the painted extract from the score of Bach’s St John Passion.
A programme of free screenings is taking place through the weekend in Tate Modern’s cinema. It includes a series of films by key protagonists from the period, such as Alighiero e Boetti and Luigi Ontani, along with Italian classics by Pasolini and Fellini.
Los Angeles-based artist Jennifer West is creating a new film live in the gallery by uniting an unlikely mix of ink, film strips and skate-boarding. In this unique event, titled Skate the Sky Melon Grab Film, West builds on her previous experiments with everyday materials such as pepper spray or Axe body cologne used to physically manipulate celluloid. West is staging a performance in the Turbine Hall for which a team of skate-boarders will traverse ink-covered film strips, their wheels scraping into the celluloid and marking their movements in complex and psychedelic patterns. This live event will be followed by a screening of the films created plus a selection of West’s earlier films.
UBS Openings: The Long Weekend offers a wide range of free activities for families. The House of Fairy Tales, a child-centred, artist-led project established by Gavin Turk and Deborah Curtis, will host a village fete with a twist. Taking over the lawns in front of Tate Modern, they are offering games, workshops, puppetry and storytelling to children of all ages and their families. The quirky, art-inspired activities will climax in a Maypole made of recycled materials.