Artist voices have always been at the heart of Tate Etc. magazine’s editorial content, and this issue is no exception. To celebrate the comprehensive rehang of the national collection of British art at Tate Britain, as well as the architects Caruso St John’s ancipated transformation of the oldest part of the Grade II Millbank building, we invited 24 artists from across the world to write about a work of British art from the past 500 years currently on display at Tate Britain that has inspired or influenced them.
We purposefully cast a wide net to show how extensive and far-reaching is the cultural exchange among contemporary artists, as our contributors from countries including Ethiopia, Turkey, China, Brazil, India, Japan and Nigeria reveal. And many of their choices reflect their deeply felt connections with their fellow artists.
The Cuban Carmen Herrera has long admired how ‘only that which is necessary remains’ in Ben Nicholson’s paintings (which she first saw in 1949). Both Iranian Shirana Shahbazi and American Raphael Montanez Ortiz are mesmerised by J.M.W. Turner’s Colour Trials sketches, the abstract nature of which has similarly been appreciated by Chinese artist Liu Xiaodong. For some, the Tate works have acted as triggers for personal memories. Takesada Matsutani relates his experience of the 1995 earthquake in Kobe, Japan, to John Martin’s The Great Day of His Wrath 1851–3, while Alexander Apóstol takes Christopher Wood’s surreal painting of a zebra set against the backdrop of a concrete building (Zebra and Parachute 1930) to reflect on the suggestive power of the ‘tropical modernity’ of his Venezuelan urban upbringing to change the way he now looks at the world.
You will also find this wonderfully rich mix of voices in our iPad app that contains extra filmed interviews with artists, photography slideshows and much more – all of which is free to download for all Tate Members. We hope you enjoy both
Bice Curiger and Simon Grant