Tate Modern Level 4 West
22 October – 28 December 2003
Common Wealth is a group exhibition that brings together five celebrated international contemporary artists from Europe and Latin America, in the most important display of their work in the UK to date. Featuring Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla, Thomas Hirschhorn, Carsten Höller, and Gabriel Orozco, the exhibition includes large-scale installations, many of which are interactive and encourage visitor participation, as a way of exploring the meanings, implications and politics of the words ‘common’ and ‘wealth’.
Collaborative artists Jennifer Allora (born 1974 Philadelphia, US) and Guillermo Calzadilla (born 1971 Havana, Cuba) are based in the United States and Puerto Rico. Their work examines the ‘space of encounter between people…whether it’s psychological territory or a physical terrain.’ Amongst the work presented in Common Wealth are two newly commissioned works Land Mark and Ten Minute Transmission. Land Mark uses a cartographic felt floor to recreate the cratered landscape of Vieques, an island off Puerto Rico used by the US military for bombing practice. Ten Minute Transmission is a sculpture modelled after the International Space Station. Made of wire and attached to a ham radio transmitter, this sculpture receives radio signals from the airwaves and transmits them into the gallery space.
Swiss-born artist Thomas Hirschhorn (born 1957 Bern) works in Paris. Hirschhorn creates makeshift environments using everyday materials such as plastic sheeting, cardboard, aluminium, and torn magazine pages, which reflect upon current social issues. Recent installations include World Airport 1999, at the Venice Biennale in 1999 and Bataille Mounument 2002, at last year’s Documenta 11. Two new works, Hotel Democracy and U-Lounge are made specifically for this exhibition. Visitors can walk around Hotel Democracy, a model building of two floors, and look into the various rooms which include images taken from the media that relate to struggles for democracy. The U-Lounge is a separate structure in which visitors can enter and explore the space created by the artist. Within this space are political and philosophical texts as well as replicas of Vorticist works from the Tate Collection.
Carsten Höller (born 1961 Brussels, Belgium) lives in Stockholm. His works create communal experiments in which the visitor determines the rules. Included in this exhibition is Frisbee House 2000, a tent-like structure that can be entered, and is filled with thirty Frisbees that participants can throw to each other or, through holes in the fabric, to unseen visitors to the gallery. Two newly commissioned works are Music Machine and Sliding Doors. Both Music Machine, which features commissioned music by Russel Haswell and Aphex Twin and is activated by certain words within conversation and Sliding Doors, which comprise of five mirrored automatic sliding doors, further investigate Höller’s interest in psychological experimentation. Solo exhibitions of Höller’s work have recently been featured at the Fondazione Prada, Milan in 2000 and the ICA, Boston 2003.
Gabriel Orozco (born 1962 Jalapa, Veracruz, Mexico) works in Mexico City, Paris and New York. Through his works the artist invites visitors to consider the significance of games and play. Included in Common Wealth are Ping Pond Table 1998, which consists of four ping-pong tables surrounding a lily pond, and Oval with Pendulum 1996, a round billiard table with two white balls and a third red ball attached to a pendulum. Recent solo shows of his work include a retrospective at MoCA, Los Angeles (2000) and the Stedelijk Museum, Amsterdam (2000). He was included in the 1997 Whitney Biennial.
The exhibition is curated by Tate Modern Curator Jessica Morgan and explores the ideas about the potential use-value beyond a purely aesthetic appreciation, how this might contribute to a shared public prosperity, and what common ground is offered by architecture and museums and art.
A 128pp catalogue, edited by Jessica Morgan, is available and includes 50 colour and 25 black and white illustrations, £16.99. Contents include an essay and interviews by Jessica Morgan with artists Gabriel Orozco and Carsten Höller; an essay by Richard Sennett; an interview with Thomas Hirschhorn by Iris Mickein; an interview with Jennifer Allora and Guillermo Calzadilla by Sophie McKinlay, and additional text by Jean-Luc Nancy and Chantal Pontbriand.
(Joint ticket with Sigmar Polke £10, joint concession £8). For tickets book online at www.tate.org.uk/tickets. For information call 020 7887 8008.