Press Release


Tate Modern today announced that it will stage an annual live exhibition in its unique underground Tanks. It will open in spring 2017 as part of BMW Tate Live, Tate Modern’s ongoing performance art programme in partnership with BMW.

Fujiko Nakaya - Fogfalls #47626, Showa Kinen Park, 1982

Fujiko Nakaya
Fogfalls #47626, Showa Kinen Park
Courtesy the artist
© the artist

Tate Modern today announced that it will stage an annual live exhibition in its unique underground Tanks. It will open in spring 2017 as part of BMW Tate Live, Tate Modern’s ongoing performance art programme in partnership with BMW. This announcement marks a new departure in the concept of the art exhibition: rather than seeing a presentation of static objects, visitors will be invited to explore the show as it unfolds over time. This new format will combine installation, performance, film, video, sound and talks over a period of ten days from 24 March to 2 April 2017.

In contrast to the white cube gallery spaces used for traditional exhibitions in the museum, artists will be able to make use of the raw, industrial character of the Tanks – huge subterranean concrete containers originally built to hold the fuel for Bankside Power Station. They have now been converted into the world’s first museum space dedicated to performance, film and installation. The alternative atmosphere of the Tanks will provide visitors with a distinctive location in which to engage with new art in a new way. The exhibition will also extend outside to the new Terrace on top of the Tanks, animating the landscape around the Switch House for the first time.

For the first BMW Tate Live Exhibition, an intergenerational selection of artists has been invited to create live installations in the Tanks, which will then act as a host or stage for other artists and viewers. The installations will range from a plant-filled salon to a cloud of artificial mist and will be free to visit during the day. In the evening, they will be further animated with ticketed performances by a range of emerging and established artists from around the world. In different ways, all the artists in the exhibition create communities or stage shared experiences, often linking natural, organic environments with new technologies and networks.

Featured artists will include Fujiko Nakaya (b.1933, Japan), who first came to prominence through her collaboration with Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T) in the 1970s. Nakaya will transform the Terrace outside Tate Modern with an immersive fog sculpture made entirely of water vapour. This will provide an environment for performances by her long-term collaborators. Isabel Lewis (b.1981, Dominican Republic) will be in residence in the Tanks Lobby throughout the duration of the exhibition. She will host a number of her signature occasions, combining music, food, drink and scent to create an alternative environment for dance, discussions and invited musicians. CAMP, a collaborative studio founded in Mumbai in 2007, will use the Transformer Galleries as a space to share their archive of digital video, unfinished films and electronic media, posing questions about how technology both connects and controls people. Wu Tsang (b.1982, USA) and Fred Moten (b.1962, USA), will present Gravitational Feel, a sculptural performance using fabric and sound to explore the social and physical significance of touch and voice. Other participating artists will include: Melanie Bonajo, Carlos Casas, Ian Cheng, Ligia Lewis, Paul Maheke, Phill Niblock, Daïchi Saïto, Lorenzo Senni, Pepa Ubera and Ian Wilson, whose live performances in and around the Tanks will span film, music and dance.

Achim Borchardt-Hume, Director of Exhibitions, Tate Modern said ‘Our culture is always changing, and so exhibitions must change too. In our connected digital age, artists and audiences are ever more fascinated by live experiences, shared in the moment with those around them. Our new annual BMW Tate Live Exhibition reflects this shift. It puts collaborative engagement centre stage, responding to the way many artists work today. I can’t wait to see how they can push the format of the exhibition even further in years to come.’

 Dr. Nicolas Peter, Senior Vice President Region Europe, BMW Group said ‘For almost 50 years, the BMW Group has been involved in culture, always aiming for partnerships fore-fronting developments in the art world. The BMW Tate Live format brings together two innovative, creative and future-oriented organisations, both of which are leaders in their fields. We are proud to continue working with Tate to keep pushing boundaries and enabling the museum experience of the future, while respecting creative freedom and curatorial integrity.’

 The BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Ten Days Six Nights is curated by Catherine Wood, Senior Curator of International Art (Performance) and Andrea Lissoni, Senior Curator of International Art (Film) with Isabella Maidment, Assistant Curator of Performance and Carly Whitefield, Assistant Curator of Film.

Editor notes


BMW Tate Live is a major international partnership between BMW and Tate, which aims to foreground the pivotal role of live experimentation in art history and among artists working today. The partnership began in 2012 with the world’s first performance programme created for live online broadcast, and evolved into an ongoing series of performances presented at Tate Modern. The programme has showcased over 35 artists including both emerging and more familiar figures from across the world. Performance has since taken on an increasingly key role in Tate Modern’s vision for the future of the museum, leading to the creation of an annual BMW Tate Live Exhibition in the Tanks in 2017.

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For almost 50 years now, the BMW Group has initiated and engaged in over 100 cultural cooperations worldwide. The company places the main focus of its long-term commitment on contemporary and modern art, classical music and jazz as well as architecture and design. In 1972, three large-scale paintings were created by the artist Gerhard Richter specifically for the foyer of the BMW Group’s Munich headquarters. Since then, artists such as Andy Warhol, Jeff Koons, Daniel Barenboim, Jonas Kaufmann and architect Zaha Hadid have co-operated with BMW. Currently, female artist Cao Fei from China and American John Baldessari are creating the next two vehicles for the BMW Art Car Collection. Besides co-initiatives, such as BMW Tate Live, the BMW Art Journey and the “Opera for All” concerts in Berlin, Munich and London, the company also partners with leading museums and art fairs as well as orchestras and opera houses around the world. The BMW Group takes absolute creative freedom in all its cultural activities – as this initiative is as essential for producing groundbreaking artistic work as it is for major innovations in a successful business.

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