Press Release

Tate Britain Commission 2017: Cerith Wyn Evans: Forms in Light (in Time)

28 March – 20 August 2017
Open daily 10.00 – 18.00
For public information call +44(0)20 7887 8888, visit or follow @Tate #CerithWynEvans
Supported by Sotheby’s

Tate Britain today unveils Forms in Space… by Light (in Time), a major new light installation by Cerith Wyn Evans. The work has been created for the annual Tate Britain Commission, supported by Sotheby’s, which invites a contemporary British artist to create a new artwork in response to the grand space of the Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain.

The sculpture is made from almost 2km of neon lighting, suspended from the ceiling and configured into straight lines, sweeping curves and spiralling forms. Structured in three parts, the work emerges from a single neon ring before developing into a collection of three discs reminiscent of the diagrams opticians employ for testing eyesight. These are the ‘Occulist Witnesses’ which Marcel Duchamp referenced in his sculpture, The Bride Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors, Even (The Large Glass) 1915-23. The installation culminates in a maze of complex lines that trace the trajectory of alignments, gestures, folds, orientations and footsteps.

This “drawing in space” takes inspiration from the codified and precise movements of Japanese Noh theatre, reflecting the artist’s interest in choreology – the practice of translating movement, such as dance, into notational form, like a musical score. The commission relates closely to the artist’s earlier sculptures that translated diagrammatic flight paths into neon. The work’s intricate structure, comprised of seemingly endless points of intersection and divergence, and deconstructed sculptural forms play with the viewer’s perspective. Forms in Space… by Light (in Time) could be viewed as a celestial map, encouraging visitors to orientate themselves within an environment full of potential meanings and connections.

Born in Wales in 1958, Cerith Wyn Evans first came to attention as a filmmaker producing experimental films and collaborative works. He has subsequently expanded his practice to incorporate diverse media including installation, sculpture, photography, film and text. He has created site-specific light installations for locations around the world including “Arr/Dep” (imaginary landscape for the birds) for the Headquarters of Lufthansa in Frankfurt (2006) and E=V=E=N=T (2015), a sculpture commissioned for Malmö Live, a new cultural hub and concert hall, home to the Malmö Symphony Orchestra.

Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, said: “Cerith has made a unique contribution to British and international art for over two decades. This compelling commission demonstrates his ability to create structures out of a light on a challenging scale and reveals the rich world of poetic ideas that informs his projects”.

Alex Branczik, Sotheby’s Head of Contemporary Art, Europe said: “Every year the ambition, inventiveness and sheer scale of the Tate Britain Commission captivates visitors to the magnificent Duveen Galleries. This year, we are proud to be celebrating the tenth anniversary of our support for the commission, which is as unmissable as ever with Cerith Wyn Evans’ architectural light installation.”

Cerith Wyn Evans studied at St Martins School of Art and The Royal College of Art and lives and works in London. Recent solo exhibitions include MUSEION in Bolzano (2015), Serpentine Sackler Gallery, London (2014), Kunsthall Bergen (2011), Tramway, Glasgow (2009), Inverleith House, Edinburgh (2009), MUSAC, Leon (2008), Musée d’art modern de la ville de Paris (2006), ICA, London (2006), Kunsthaus Graz (2005), MIT Visual Arts Centre (2004) and MFA, Boston (2004). Alongside this exhibition, he has just opened a solo exhibition at Haus Konstruktiv, Zürich (2017). He will participate in the forthcoming Venice Biennale as well as this year’s decennial Sculpture Projects Münster.

Tate Britain Commission 2017: Cerith Wyn Evans is curated by Clarrie Wallis, Senior Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate, and Elsa Coustou, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate.

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The Tate Britain Commission 2017: Cerith Wyn Evans is the latest in a series of contemporary commissions for Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries which address the heritage of the space as a sculpture gallery. Artists are invited to develop a new work in response to the grand space of Tate Britain’s neo-classical Duveen Galleries. Artists who have previously undertaken commissions in the Duveens at Tate Britain include Pablo Bronstein (2016), Christina Mackie (2015), Phyllida Barlow (2014), Simon Starling (2013), Patrick Keiller (2012), Fiona Banner (2010), Eva Rothschild (2009), Martin Creed (2008), Mark Wallinger (2007), Michael Landy (2004), Anya Gallaccio (2002) and Mona Hatoum (2000).

Sotheby’s has been uniting collectors with world-class works of art since 1744. Sotheby’s became the first international auction house when it expanded from London to New York (1955), the first to conduct sales in Hong Kong (1973), India (1992) and France (2001), and the first international fine art auction house in China (2012). Today, Sotheby’s presents auctions in 10 different salesrooms, including New York, London, Hong Kong and Paris, and Sotheby’s BidNow program allows visitors to view all auctions live online and place bids from anywhere in the world. Sotheby’s offers collectors the resources of Sotheby’s Financial Services, the world’s only full-service art financing company, as well as private sale opportunities in more than 70 categories, including S|2, the gallery arm of Sotheby’s Contemporary Art department, and two retail businesses, Sotheby’s Diamonds and Sotheby’s Wine. Sotheby’s has a global network of 90 offices in 40 countries and is the oldest company listed on the New York Stock Exchange (BID).


Duveen Galleries, Tate Britain
Friday 16 June, 18.30-20.00
£12 / £8 concessions
Cerith Wyn Evans discusses his new installation for the Tate Britain Commission 2017, Forms in Space…by Light (in Time).