Press Release

Cecilia Vicuña to be next Hyundai Commission artist for Tate Modern's Turbine Hall

Portrait of Cecilia Vicuña in front of Quipu Womb 2017 at Tate Modern, 2022 c. Cecilia Vicuña. PhotoLucy Dawkins

Tate Modern and Hyundai Motor today announce that Chilean artist and poet Cecilia Vicuña will create the next annual Hyundai Commission. Vicuña (b.1948) is perhaps best known for her radical textile sculptures, combining natural materials and traditional crafts. A prolific multi-disciplinary artist, Vicuña explores the pressing concerns of ecology, community, and social justice. Her new site-specific work for the Turbine Hall will be open to the public from 11 October 2022 to 16 April 2023.

Born and raised in Santiago, Vicuña went into exile during the early 1970s after the violent military coup against former Chilean President Salvador Allende. This sense of impermanence, and a desire to preserve and pay tribute to the country’s indigenous history and culture have characterised her career, spanning half a century. Vicuña’s ephemeral and environmentally conscious work combines the tactile ritual of weaving with assemblage, poetry, performance, and painting. Her creations include the ongoing series Precarios, tiny sculptures combining feathers, stone, plastic, wood, wire, shells, cloth and other human-made detritus, and Quipus, hanging textile installations which draw on an ancient Andean method of communication through knotting-coloured strings.

Frances Morris, Director, Tate Modern said: “Cecilia Vicuña has been an inspirational figure for decades, with the relevance and urgency of her work rightly underscored by her forthcoming Golden Lion Lifetime Achievement award. As a tireless champion of ecological awareness and social justice, as well as the creator of stunning and powerful works of art, I am delighted that Tate Modern will be working with Cecilia Vicuña on our next annual Hyundai Commission - I can’t wait for its unveiling this October.”

Thomas Schemera, Global Chief Marketing Officer and Head of Customer Experience Division, Hyundai Motor Company said: “Cecilia Vicuña’s work explores generations of memory and history from a wider perspective, attending to the world around us. We look forward to seeing how the seventh Hyundai Commission with Vicuña invites audiences to think about their role in a broader conversation about our present and future.”

Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, the Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art, reaching an audience of millions each year. The way artists have interpreted this vast industrial space has revolutionised public perceptions of contemporary art in the twenty-first century. The annual Hyundai Commission gives artists an opportunity to create new work for this unique context. The commissions are made possible by the long-term partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor, confirmed until 2026 as part of the longest initial commitment from a corporate partner in Tate’s history.

Tate recently acquired Vicuña’s Quipu Womb, 2017. Having made its debut at Documenta 14, this monumental work explores the energies, flows and cycles of female menstruation and nature, and shines a spotlight on the quipu as a form of female creativity and collectivity through the ages.

Hyundai Commission Cecilia Vicuña will be curated by Catherine Wood, Senior Curator of International Art (Performance), Tate with Fiontan Moran, Assistant Curator, International Art, Tate. It will be accompanied by a new book from Tate Publishing.