Press Release

Tate Britain Christmas Tree by Richard Wentworth

Tate Britain  Rotunda
4 December 2004 – 4 January 2005

Each year Tate Britain invites an artist to create a Christmas Tree. This year sculptor Richard Wentworth has dressed a traditional Norwegian Spruce tree with broken halves of plates and strings of dimmed domestic light bulbs. Text panels on the base describe the histories of the tree’s four elements: the lightbulb, the plate, the Christmas tree and the plinth.

Visitors are invited to interact with the tree by leaving digital presents (photos, movies, texts etc) via the Christmas tree’s bluetooth antenna. If your phone has bluetooth you can send a file to the tree, choose the send via bluetooth option on your phone and choose Christmas tree from the available devices. If you cannot connect to the tree you can send your file via email to The digital presents will be unwrapped at on Christmas day.

Wentworth will be auctioning the plates that decorate the tree in aid of the children’s charity Artworks ( Visitors can post their bids at the information desk beside the tree. The decorations will be given to the highest bidder, which will be announced on 7 January 2005.

The artist was born in Samoa in 1947. Since the late 1970s, Wentworth has emerged as one of the key figures in radically transforming the way we think about sculpture. Shunning the monumental gesture, Wentworth finds his materials in the everyday world. Often working with found, mass produced objects - such as light bulbs, plates, buckets and ladders - Wentworth subverts their functions to play with conventional systems of classification and notions of so-called high and low art, providing us with original and fresh perspectives on the things that constitute the world around us.

Richard Wentworth has an upcoming solo exhibition at Tate Liverpool.
Find out more about Richard Wentworth, 21 January – 24 April 2005

This is the seventeenth year that Tate has marked Christmas in this way. Previously commissioned artists are: Mark Wallinger (2003), Tracey Emin (2002), Yinka Shonibare (2001). Catherine Yass (2000), Mat Collishaw (1999), Richard Wilson (1998) Michael Landy (1997), Julian Opie (1996), Cornelia Parker (1995), Cathy de Monchaux (1994), Shirazeh Houshiary (1993), Craigie Aitchison (1992), Boyd Webb (1991), Lisa Milroy (1990), Tim Head (1989) and Bill Woodrow (1988).

Open 10.00-17.50 every day except 24, 25 and 26 December