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Tate Modern launches ten-day live art exhibition in the Tanks

Fog sculptures and multisensory "occasions" are on the programme next spring

by Gareth Harris  |  23 November 2016
Tate Modern launches ten-day live art exhibition in the Tanks
Artist Isabel Lewis hosts an occasion in Berlin in 2015 (Photo: Vitali Wagner © Tanz im August/HAU Hebbel am Ufer)
Tate Modern is launching a ten-day exhibition of live art in and around its subterranean Tanks space next spring. The BMW Tate Live Exhibition (24 March-2 April 2017), which will be held annually, will mix installation, performance, video and sound works, marking a "new departure in the concept of the art exhibition", the organisers say. 

The project is an "essential cornerstone" of Tate’s ambition to "become a museum of the 21st century", said Tate Modern’s director of exhibitions, Achim Borchardt-Hume, at a press conference today (23 November). It follows the opening of the Tanks in summer 2012 as the world’s first museum galleries dedicated to performance, film and installation. BMW has sponsored the Tate Live series of performance commissions and live-streamed online broadcasts since 2012.

Participating artists in the first exhibition include Fujiko Nakaya, Isabel Lewis and Ian Cheng. The Japanese-born artist Nakaya will create fog sculptures from water vapour during a daily performance on the terrace on top of the Tanks. The Dominican-American artist Lewis will host a series of her multisensory "occasions", combining music, dance, food, drink and scents. 

Cheng, who is based in New York and is known for his digital and virtual reality projects, "is experimenting with a new work that has a live presence", says Catherine Wood, Tate’s senior curator of performance. Meanwhile, the Italian music producer Lorenzo Senni will unveil a new light and sound piece. "He treats sounds like artists treat language," says Andrea Lissoni, the senior curator of film and moving image. 

The programme will have a "dual texture", Wood says. "We’ll be in installation mode during the day and events mode in the evenings." Asked about the idea of audience participation, she says that "can be a terrifying prospect at places like the theatre, but this is more ambient, and about creating an environment that is shared". 

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