Coinciding with the Notting Hill Carnival, Tate Modern presents Up Hill Down Hall: An indoor carnival, a new performance commission guest curated by Claire Tancons that offers critical and artistic perspectives on Carnival.

Find out more about the artists involved in Up Hill Down Hall: An indoor carnival [PDF, 32 Kb]

Informed by the history of the Notting Hill Carnival as it reaches a milestone half-century of existence, Up Hill Down Hall showcases performances for hundreds of participants by artists Hew Locke and Marlon Griffith against the backdrop of an architectural design by Gia Wolff and a soundscape by Dubmorphology (Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison), with a special intervention by Central Saint Martins Fine Arts students and recent graduates.

Running order for the afternoon

15.00: No Black in The Union Jack by Marlon Griffith

15.30: The Sky is Dancing  by…Central Saint by students and recent graduates from BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, UAL: University of the Arts London

16.00: Give and Take by Hew Locke, with Batala Samba-Reggae band.

The performances unfold to Sonar, a soundscape by Dubmorphology, under Canopy, an architectural design by Gia Wolff.

Join us on Saturday! 



Dubmorphology is a London based interdisciplinary artist and research group formed by Gary Stewart and Trevor Mathison. Through experimental approaches to sound art, live cinema and installations Dubmorphology blur the boundaries between the sonic, visual and performative. It’s practice is distinguished by it’s ongoing investigation into the unique spaces emerging in museums, art galleries and public spaces formed by the shifting intersections between audiences, authorship and participation. Recent exhibitions, biennials, laboratories and performances include Uprising, Bogota; Multiplicidade, Rio de Janerio; Haus der Kulturen der Welt, Berlin; Art Dubai, Madinat Jumeirah; Taipei Biennial; W.E.B. Dubois Institute, Cambridge; Afterimage, Bristol; and dOCUMENTA (13), Kassel.

Marlon Griffith 

Marlon Griffith began his artistic practice as a Carnival designer—a “mas’ man,” as Trinidadians would call him. This background deeply shapes his work as a contemporary visual artist, which has performative, participatory, and ephemeral characteristics that derive from Carnival. Griffith has shown internationally including South-South: Interruptions & Encounters, Toronto, 2009; Global Caribbean, Miami, 2010; Wrestling with the Image: Caribbean Interventions, Art Museum of the Americas, Washington 2011; 7th Gwanju Biennale, South Korea, 2008; CAPE09, Cape Town, 2009; Manifesta 9 Parallel Projects, 2012 and AichiTrienniale, Japan, 2013. In 2010 Griffith was the recipient of a John Simon Guggenheim Fellowship and of a Commonwealth Award.

Hew Locke

Hew Locke is an artist who explores the subject of power, particularly through the representation of royal portraiture, coats-of-arms, public statuary, trophies, weaponry and costume. Drawing on the dynamic society of Guyana, the wider Caribbean and Europe, Locke delves deeply into the history behind the subject matter and objects involved in his work to create pieces that stand on a crossroad of cultures, mediums and historic references. Locke has exhibited both nationally and internationally including the National Portrait Gallery, Tate Britain, Victoria & Albert Museum and British Museum in London, New York Museum of Art and Design, Atlanta Contemporary Arts and at Brooklyn Museum, New York as well as the Pérez Art Museum, Miami. This year he will be taking part in Prospect.3, New Orleans and the Kochi-Muziris Biennale, India.

Claire Tancons

Claire Tancons is a curator, writer and scholar based in New Orleanswhose work focuses on Carnival, public ceremonial culture, civic rituals and popular movements. Often curating for biennials (Prospect. 1 New Orleans, 7th Gwangju Biennale, CAPE09, Biennale Bénin, 7th Göteborg Biennial) Tancons has developed alternative genealogies and methodologies for thinking and presenting performance, including reclaiming the processional as a curatorial medium. She recently initiated a series of collaborations including Far Festa: Nuove Feste Veneziane (IUAV University and Bevilacqua La Masa Foundation, Venice, 2013), En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean (Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans and Independent Curators International, New Orleans, 2014-2015) and Psychic Pageant (New Orleans Airlift, New Orleans, 2014). Tancons received many grants from the Andy Warhol Foundation, the Prince Claus Fund and the Foundation for Arts Initiatives among others and, in 2012, an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award.

Gia Wolff

Gia Wolff is an architectural designer who is interested in architecture that embodies a reciprocal relationship between the user and the built environment and questions the performative aspects of the discipline. In 2013, Wolff was winner of the Wheelwright Prize for her project, Floating City: The Community-Based Architecture of Parade Floats, where she currently studies the traditions of parade floats—elaborate temporary and mobile constructions that are realized annually in various carnivals and festivals around the world. She is presently an adjunct professor at the Pratt Institute, School of Architecture, New York and an assistant professor at the Irwin S. Chanin School of Architecture at the Cooper Union, New York. 


Up Hill Down Hall: An Indoor Carnival is curated by Claire Tancons in discussion with Tate Modern’s curatorial team and in collaboration with the artists in the project with support by students and recent graduates from BA Fine Art at Central Saint Martins, UAL: University of the Arts London, along with members from the Notting Hill Carnival Community including participants and volunteers from Elimu Paddington Arts Mas Band and Batala Samba-Reggae percussion band. 

Give and Take by Hew Locke received additional support from Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans, as part of En Mas’: Carnival and Performance Art of the Caribbean. The exhibition, which will open in 2015, is curated by Claire Tancons and Krista Thompson at the Contemporary Art Center (CAC),New Orleans and co-organized as a travelling exhibition by Independent Curators International (ICI),New York. The exhibition is made possible by an Emily Hall Tremaine Exhibition Award with additional support from The Andy Warhol Foundation for the Visual Arts.

BMW Tate Live is curated by Catherine Wood, Curator, Contemporary Art and Performance, Tate and Capucine Perrot, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.

BMW Tate Live is a partnership between BMW and Tate, which focuses on performance, interdisciplinary art and curating digital space.