A still image of two dancers covered in white body paint beside a woman with white paint on her hands

Faustin Linkyekula, My Body, My Archive, Performance and Installation, 2020

Tate has released an exclusive online-only performance by Faustin Linyekula, one of many ways people can still access art through Tate’s digital channels.

The Congolese choreographer and dance artist was due to perform in the Tanks at Tate Modern from 20 to 29 March 2020. His work was among those programmed for this year’s BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Our Bodies, Our Archives, alongside other performances by Okwui Okpokwasili and Tanya Lukin Linklater. These were cancelled when Tate’s four sites closed due to the coronavirus, but Linyekula and those of his collaborators who could make it to London in the circumstances worked with Tate to stage a one-off, site-specific work, performed to camera in the empty Tanks. Now available to watch on the exhibition web page for free, My Body, My Archive is a performance re-invented for the particular situation of this exhibition and its closure to the public. The performance combines carefully selected segments of his works Sur les traces de Dinozord 2006, Statue of Loss 2014, Batanaba 2017 and Congo 2019.

In this autobiographical performance, Linyekula questions ancient knowledge stored in the body against the relatively short written history found in books. Companions – a number of his fellow dancers, actors and musicians – accompany him in this journey, helping him to tell stories and reactivate collective and personal memories. Linyekula imagines his own artistic journey in terms of the circle and asserts that archives of the body cannot be experienced alone. In the current climate, his work, which explores themes of connection, community and fragility of the body, has added poignancy and resonance.

While Tate galleries remain closed, visitors can still experience great art on Tate’s website and social media. A booklet, including newly commissioned interviews with Linyekula, Okwokpasili and Lukin Linklater, can be downloaded from the BMW Tate Live Exhibition web page. Other content on tate.org.uk includes artist interviews, in which viewers can step inside the studios of artists such as David Hockney and Billie Zanegwa and hear what inspires them, detailed looks at artworks in the Tate collection, and podcasts introducing listeners to art and artists through themes such as protest, hip-hop and love.

Detailed exhibition guides are available to download for free on exhibition web pages, including the recently opened Aubrey Beardsley and Andy Warhol exhibitions, and everyone can explore the online collection which includes 78,000 artworks, 4,000 artists and 22,000 archive items. Social media users can continue to discover art shared across Tate’s Instagram, Twitter and Facebook channels daily, and previous issues of Tate Etc can be found online for free, including features and interviews with some of the leading artists working today. Children also have free access to quizzes and activities via Tate Kids and can even submit their own artwork for other online viewers to see.

Production Credits

Faustin Linkyekula My Body, My Archive Performance and Installation South Tank and Transformers

Created, written and performed by Faustin Linyekula


Franck Moka, Ornella Mamba, Heru Shabaka-RA, Michel Kiyombo

Sound and video installation Franck Moka


Franck Moka

Heru Shabaka-ra

Production Coordinator

Virginie Dupray

Faustin Linyekula

Faustin Linyekula was born in 1974 in Ubundu, in former Zaire, now called the Democratic Republic of Congo. In 2001, Linyekula established Studios Kabako in Kinshasa, a centre for multidisciplinary practice and performance. Linyekula and Studios Kabako relocated to Kisangani in 2006 where they foster debuts of young artists as well as work with the local Lubunga communities in education, sustainability and the environment.


From 20-29 March artists Faustin Linyekula, Okwui Okpokwasili and Tanya Lukin Linklater were due to take part in the BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Our Bodies, Our Archives. These artists, who each use the body in different ways to explore history, inheritance and storytelling, were scheduled to create ten days of live performances and site-specific installations for Tate Modern’s underground Tanks. The exhibition was cancelled on Monday 16 March following advice from Public Health England.

About BMW Tate Live

BMW Tate Live is a major international partnership between BMW and Tate, which foregrounds the pivotal role of live experimentation in art history and today. The programme has now featured over 55 artists including both emerging and more familiar figures from across the world. It began in 2012 with the world’s first performance programme created for live online broadcast, and later evolved into an ongoing series of public performances in and around Tate Modern. As performance took on an ever-greater role in Tate Modern’s vision for the museum, the first annual BMW Tate Live Exhibition was opened in the Tanks in 2017. For further information, please visit tate.org.uk/bmwtatelive

About BMW's Cultural Commitment

For almost 50 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in over 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main focus of its long-term commitment on contemporary and modern art, classical music and jazz as well as architecture and design. In 1972, three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group's Munich headquarters. Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Daniel Barenboim, Jonas Kaufmann and architect Zaha Hadid have co-operated with BMW. In 2016 and 2017, female artist Cao Fei from China and American John Baldessari created the next two vehicles for the BMW Art Car Collection. Besides co-initiatives, such as BMW Tate Live, the BMW Art Journey and the “Opera for All” concerts in Berlin, Munich, Moscow and London, the company also partners with leading museums and art fairs as well as orchestras and opera houses around the world. The BMW Group champions absolute creative freedom in all its cultural activities – as this initiative is as essential for producing groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.

For BMW press requests contact Doris Fleischer, BMW Group Cultural Engagement, mobile: +49 151 601 27806 or email Doris.Fleischer@bmw.de

For press information please contact kitty.malton@tate.org.uk or pressoffice@tate.org.uk

High resolution press images can be downloaded from Tate's Dropbox.