Tate Modern today unveils a major new work by artist Anicka Yi as the renowned Hyundai Commission returns to the gallery. This captivating installation is Yi’s largest and most ambitious project to date, transforming the Turbine Hall at the heart of Tate Modern with her vision of a new kind of ecosystem. Referencing the hall’s original purpose of housing Bankside Power Station’s turbines, Yi’s commission populates the space with machines once again. Moving through the air, her floating machines – called aerobes – prompt viewers to think about new ways that machines might inhabit the world. It is the sixth Hyundai Commission, an annual series of site-specific works created for the Turbine Hall, as part of a partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor.
Yi has become known for her experimental work which explores the merging of technology and biology, focusing on breaking down distinctions we hold between plants, animals, micro-organisms and technology. Through this work, she asks viewers to think about how removing these distinctions affects our understanding of ourselves as humans, and the ecosystems we live in. For her new commission at Tate Modern, Yi began with the question of what a ‘natural history of machines’ could look and feel like. Her project builds on previous work speculating on the possibilities of machines evolving into independent forms of life.
Two species of aerobes explore the Turbine Hall, exhibiting individual and group behaviours in response to different elements of their environment. ‘Xenojellies’ have semitransparent bodies each with a different coloured top and patterned tentacles, while ‘planulae’ are bulbous and covered by short yellow hair. Both species are filled with helium, propelled by rotors and powered by a small battery pack. Their biomorphic forms reference both ocean lifeforms and mushrooms, reflecting the varying roles and levels of complexity amongst organisms in an ecosystem. These aerobes allow Yi to imagine new possibilities for artificial intelligence, inspired by the diverse ways that organisms learn through their bodies and senses.
Integral to Yi’s commission as well as her wider practice are scent and air. She is interested in the politics of air and how this is affected by changing attitudes, inequalities, and ecological awareness. She approaches scent as a medium for subtly shifting perceptions and giving presence to the air that we all share, and on which we depend. For Tate Modern, the artist has created unique scentscapes that transition from one week to the next, evoking odours linked to a specific time in the history of Bankside. Visitors may smell spices thought to counteract the Black Death in the 14th century, marine scents related to the Precambrian period long before humans inhabited earth, coal and ozone conjuring up the Machine Age of the 20th century, or vegetation from the Cretaceous period. These scentscapes create an environment that connects the aerobes with the history of the site and all other organisms that share their habitat. As the odours change between each unique scentscape, the aerobes' behavior and interactions will develop in response.
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.
Hyundai Commission: Anicka Yi: In Love With The World is curated by Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions and Programmes; Mark Godfrey, former Senior Curator, International Art; and Carly Whitefield, Assistant Curator, International Art. Produced by Petra Schmidt, Production Manager. It will be accompanied by a new book from Tate Publishing.
ABOUT ANICKA YI
Anicka Yi was born in Seoul in 1971 and now lives and works in New York City. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Kunsthalle Basel, and the Fridericianum in Kassel. Her work featured in the Venice Biennale in 2019, the Whitney Biennial in 2017 and the Gwangju Biennale in 2016, as well as in many group exhibitions around the world. She won the Hugo Boss Prize in 2016 and has held residencies and fellowships at the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Center for Art Science and Technology at MIT.
ABOUT HYUNDAI MOTOR COMPANY
Established in 1967, Hyundai Motor Company is present in over 200 countries with more than 120,000 employees dedicated to tackling real-world mobility challenges around the globe. Based on the brand vision ‘Progress for Humanity,' Hyundai Motor is accelerating its transformation into a Smart Mobility Solution Provider. The company invests in advanced technologies such as robotics and Urban Air Mobility (UAM) to bring about revolutionary mobility solutions, while pursuing open innovation to introduce future mobility services. In pursuit of sustainable future for the world, Hyundai will continue its efforts to introduce zero emission vehicles equipped with industry-leading hydrogen fuel cell and EV technologies.
More information about Hyundai Motor and its products can be found at:
http://worldwide.hyundai.com and http://globalpr.hyundai.com
ABOUT HYUNDAI MOTOR’S ART PROJECTS
Hyundai Motor Company has been supporting art initiatives, where artists, communities, and institutions come together to offer meaningful art experiences, driven by long-term partnerships with global museums - the National Museum of Modern and Contemporary Art, Korea (MMCA), Tate and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) since 2013, along with major sponsorships for the Korean Pavilion at the Venice Biennale 2015, 2017, 2019 and the 20th and 21st Biennale of Sydney. The newly established Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational encourages innovative ways of thinking about art and global art histories, and in partnership with global media group Bloomberg, Hyundai Motor Company connects international audiences with artists exploring the convergence of art and technology.
Visit artlab.hyundai.com or follow @hyundai.artlab #HyundaiArtlab to learn more about these projects.