Press Release

New events and displays draw on groundbreaking transnational research Latest projects explore abstraction in Arabic script, land rights in Australian art, and contemporary indigeneity in the Americas

Tate’s commitment to exploring new perspectives on global art histories will continue with a range of new events and displays over the coming months. These projects all draw on the ongoing work of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, launched in January 2019 to help challenge and revise dominant art histories and highlight the global exchanges of artists and ideas. The Centre is supported by Hyundai Motor who also support Tate Modern's annual Hyundai Commission as part of a unique long-term partnership with Tate.

In spring 2021 Tate Modern will open a new free display bringing together works which respond to debates around Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander land rights in Australia. The display will take as its starting point the 1992 High Court ruling in favour of Edward Koiki Mabo, which overturned terra nullius (meaning ‘land belonging to nobody’), the doctrine on which the British had justified colonising what is now known as Australia. A Year in Art: Australia 1992 will explore how artists have acknowledged the continuing relationship Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples have with their lands, as well as the ongoing impact of colonisation and the complexities of representation in Australian society today. The display will feature many works of art jointly acquired by Tate and MCA Australia through an innovative partnership established in 2015 via a gift from the Qantas Foundation. These include works which interrogate post-colonial histories, narrate political tensions, and illustrate how the oldest continuous living cultures in the world, reaching back 65,000 years, assert custodianship of country in contemporary art today.

A Year in Art: Australia 1992 is one of many projects informed by the work of the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational. Integrated within Tate Modern's curatorial team, the Centre contributes to exhibitions, displays, acquisitions and events across Tate’s four galleries and with a wide network of collaborators. Recent projects have included the solo exhibition of visionary Korean-born artist Nam June Paik, due to open at SFMOMA next spring, as well as a display at Tate Modern considering how artists responded to the 1973 coup d’etat in Chile. Most recently, the Centre’s research supported the latest exhibition of South African visual activist Zanele Muholi, on show at Tate Modern from when the gallery reopens until 7 March 2021.

These in-gallery programmes are joined by a host of events, including an annual symposium, seminars and workshops, which investigate how art, artists and art histories are connected beyond their countries of origin. Highlights this autumn have included an online panel discussion on the life and work of Pakistani artist Lala Rukh, as well as a digital forum organised in collaboration with the Museo Universitario Arte Contemporáneo (MUAC) analysing the relationship between indigeneity and contemporary art in the Americas. A range of essays, talks and videos from the forum are now available to view on the MUAC website.

Other current events include an online discussion which began on 6 November and concludes on 13 November, in partnership with The Courtauld Institute of Art. Titled Textual Abstraction within Transnational Modernism, it explores how Arabic (including Persian and Urdu) letters and script were transformed into abstract visual forms across North Africa, West Asia and South Asia in the wake of independence movements and the rise of avant-garde groups and schools. To end the year, the Centre’s annual symposium for 2020 will take place online on 3 and 4 December in collaboration with the Mori Art Museum in Tokyo, titled From Alexandria to Tokyo: Art, Colonialism and Entangled Histories. The symposium aims to decenter present-day debates on art and colonialism by focusing on artistic perspectives of non-European colonialism and experiences of domination that are relatively underexplored.

For more information about the Hyundai Tate Research Centre: Transnational, visit Tate’s website.