This summer, Tate Britain opens its doors to a series of new displays, or a ‘rehang’, of the national collection of British art. With the artworks on view changing fairly constantly in our galleries, this may not sound especially radical. A rehang does, however, offer an opportunity to tell a new story through the works that Tate holds on behalf of the public.

The national collection spans over 500 years – from the art of the Tudor courts to work made in response to the most pressing issues of our time. As well as showcasing the collection’s richness and complexity, the rehang encourages us to make fresh connections between, and take alternative routes into, some of Britain’s most important and influential artworks. It is also an opportunity to rethink the ways in which art can touch all our lives today.

In this special issue of Tate Etc., we have echoed the spirit of the rehang, inviting 27 people – artists, writers, activists, theatre makers, thinkers, and figures from the worlds of fashion and film – to explore these artworks from their own unique perspectives. For our cover, the photographer Rene Matić – the youngest artist in the collection – spent time in the galleries, creating a series of self-portraits in dialogue with the art and the building itself, bringing the past into the present. As Rene said to us, all history ‘is behind and ahead and through. But it is not still, thank god.’

Tate Etc.