Tate Modern

Tate Modern
Bankside
London
Greater London
SE1 9TG
England

Website

www.tate.org.uk/modern/

E-mail

Bookings

visiting.modern@tate.org.uk

Telephone

Public Events and Courses bookings

020 7887 8888

Family Events and Schools bookings

020 7887 3959

Recorded information

020 7887 8008

Minicom

020 7887 8687

Fax

020 7887 8007

All information is drawn from or provided by the venues themselves and every effort is made to ensure it is correct. Please remember to double check opening hours with the venue concerned before making a special visit.
Tate Modern
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Tate Modern is Britain's national museum of modern art.
Housed in the former Bankside Power Station, Tate Modern displays the Tate collection of international modern art from 1900 to the present day.

Venue Type:

Gallery

Opening hours

Open Sunday-Thursday, 10.00-1800 and Fri & Sat 10.00-22.00

Closed 24-26 December

Admission charges

Collection displays - free
Exhibitions - various

Discounts

  • International Council of Museums

Tate Modern's collection displays include major works by Dalí, Picasso, Matisse, Rothko and Warhol as well as contemporary work by artists such as Dorothy Cross, Gilbert & George and Susan Hiller.

Collection details

Photography, Performing Arts, Fine Art, Film and Media, Archives

Exhibition details are listed below, you may need to scroll down to see them all.

ARTIST ROOMS: Joseph Beuys – London

  • 1 April 2012 — 31 December 2015 *on now

This room brings together works by the German artist Joseph Beuys from the early 1980s, including the installation Lightning with Stag in its Glare.

This display of sculpture by Joseph Beuys includes works that are part of ARTIST ROOMS, the collection held jointly by Tate and the National Galleries of Scotland.

One of the most important German artists of the twentieth century, Beuys was known for performances and sculptural installations that explored myth, politics and man’s relationship to the natural world. He saw creativity as central to human existence, and his art was rooted in processes of change and transformation. His sculptures were often based on found objects which he invested with symbolic associations derived from science, anthropology and his own life.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/artist-rooms-joseph-beuys-london

ARTIST ROOMS: Lawrence Weiner – London

  • 27 September 2012 — 31 December 2015 *on now

Lawrence Weiner’s use of language as his primary medium has marked him out as one of the leading figures of conceptual art.

This display of work by Lawrence Weiner forms part of a collection of international contemporary art jointly owned by Tate and National Galleries of Scotland. It is known as ARTIST ROOMS and focuses on individual rooms devoted to particular artists.

Weiner’s work focuses on the interaction between the artwork and the ‘receiver’ – his term for the audience who encounters the work in some form and chooses to engage with it through thoughts or actions.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/lawrence-weiner

photogrpah of tate modern turbine hall

Skirt of the Black Mouth

  • 28 September 2012 — 30 September 2015 *on now

Created by artists Heather and Ivan Morison, Skirt of the Black Mouth is a place for everyone within the south landscape of the Tate Modern Project.

The artists often make works for public spaces that disrupt the rigid grid of the modern world. They use simple folds and cuts to transform monolithic forms, materials and ideas, producing a more unexpected, more beautiful geometry. The resulting structures are intended to agitate and provoke the viewer, but the artists also want people to find hope through this confrontation.

Suitable for

  • Any age

Where

Outside Tate Modern at Holland Street

Admission

Free.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/skirt-black-mouth

Louise Bourgeois: Works on Paper

  • 16 June 2014 — 12 April 2015 *on now

Though she is most widely recognised for her ambitious sculptures, Louise Bourgeois also produced a large body of works on paper throughout her lifetime. This four-room display brings together a selection of her prints, drawings and books.

Drawing and printmaking were important aspects of Bourgeois’s practice. She first took up lithography – making prints with a combination of greasy and oil-resistant media – at the Art Students League in New York in 1938. In the mid-1940s she practised intaglio techniques – where the image is incised into the printing plate – at master printmaker Stanley William Hayter’s Atelier 17. She also prepared etching plates at home where she had a small intaglio press.

Having abandoned the practice for many years to concentrate on three-dimensional work, in the 1990s Bourgeois returned to printmaking, collaborating with a number of publishers and printers and often revisiting the notes and drawings she had produced decades earlier. The works in this room show how Bourgeois reworked ideas from earlier in her career, using drawings and parables to create books of engravings or to explore autobiographical scenes.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/louise-bourgeois-works-on-paper

image by Sigmar Polke, Girlfriends (Freundinnen) 1965/66

Sigmar Polke: Alibis

  • 9 October 2014 — 8 February 2015 *on now

This groundbreaking retrospective of the maverick Sigmar Polke (1941–2010) will explore the full scope of his work. A key figure in the first generation of post-WWII German artists alongside Gerhard Richter and Blinky Palermo, Polke took a wildly different approach to art-making, from his responses to consumer society in the 1960s to his interest in travel and communal living in the 1970s and his increasingly experimental practice after 1980.

This will be the first exhibition to bring together the full range of media in which he worked – not only painting, drawing, photography, film and sculpture, but also notebooks, slide projections and photocopies.

Exhibition organised by The Museum of Modern Art, New York with Tate Modern, London

Admission

Please check website for further information

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/sigmar-polke-alibis

Li Yuan-chia

  • 11 October 2014 — 11 October 2015 *on now

Li Yuan-chia’s abstract art drew upon western modernism as well as Zen Buddhist and Daoist thinking.

Encompassing painting, calligraphy, sculpture, environmental art, participatory installations and photography, Li’s work explored his preoccupations with space, life and time.

In the 1950s Li belonged to a pioneering group of Taiwanese abstract artists called Ton Fan. In 1963 he moved to Bologna, Italy, where he produced his first folding painted books and began to develop the idea of the ‘cosmic point’ that would become a central feature of his work.

For Li, the cosmic point represented the beginning and end of all things. It began as a small calligraphic mark and evolved into a small circle that was sometimes collaged to the surface of the work. He also limited his palette to four colours: black for origin and end, red for blood and life, gold for nobility and white for purity.

In 1965 Li was invited to show his work at the experimental gallery Signals in London, where he moved the following year. In 1968, he relocated toYorkshire, and eventually settled at Banks in Cumbria, alongside Hadrian’s Wall. It was here in 1972 that he opened the LYC Museum and Art Gallery. During the ten years the museum was open, the LYC provided an exhibition space for over 300 artists including Andy Goldsworthy, Shelagh Wakely, David Nash and Bill Woodrow.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/li-yuan-chia

Artur Żmijewski

  • 13 October 2014 — 11 October 2015 *on now

Documenting scenes from a painting workshop with visually impaired participants, Żmijewski’s video Blindly asks what it means to imagine and represent without relying on the sense of sight.

Polish artist and filmmaker Artur Żmijewski is known for his politically charged videos, often engaging with contentious or delicate subjects in a candid documentary style. Past works have dealt, among other things, with the memory of concentration camps and with democracy as a clash of radically different political views. Many of his works directly address the challenges faced by people living with disabilities: Żmijewski invites disabled people to perform tasks which foreground their impairments, and captures the outcomes with startling honesty.

For Blindly 2010 the artist set up individual painting workshops with a number of people who have no sight and asked the participants to paint a self-portrait, a landscape, and an animal on large sheets of paper. Some were born blind, some lost their sight after an accident or condition, and all responded to the assignments in highly personal ways. Żmijewski rarely intervened, leaving the participants free to express their own perceptions of the world. The highly tactile process is depicted as messy but purposeful, yet viewers are aware they are able to see these striking pictures while their creators cannot.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/artur-zmijewski

Kader Attia

  • 25 October 2014 — 25 October 2016 *on now

In Oil and Sugar #2 2007 the gradual collapse of a tower of sugar cubes doused in black oil embodies the crises and contradictions that can emerge within all cultural systems.

Kader Attia’s videos and installations often address the physical and historical processes affecting human constructs, from built landscapes to wider social frameworks. In this video, crude oil is poured onto a small construction made out of sugar cubes until these become soaked and eventually crumble. This process plays out as a conflict between opposed elements such as black and white, solid and liquid, and order and chaos. However, it also suggests that entropy and decline are essential to the emergence of new forms. The repetition of the sequence on a loop encourages this sense of transformation, while ‘beginning’ and ‘end’ lose their static meanings.

Sugar and oil are both powerfully symbolic materials, whose production and trade have had profound economic, social and environmental consequences. Attia points out that both substances are fuel sources: not just petroleum but also ethanol, made from sugar cane and other crops. Developed as a ‘clean’ alternative to fossil fuels, ethanol is produced through a method that is similarly unsustainable. In many ways, what appears at first as a contrast of opposites turns out to be far more complex and paradoxical.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/kader-attia

Italian Modernist Photography

  • 25 October 2014 — 25 October 2016 *on now

This selection of work by four key photographers represents some of the most innovative movements in Italian photography, from the late 1930s to the early 1960s.

Until the early 1940s photography in Italy was dominated by a pictorial aesthetic that accorded with the values of the Fascist government. Alternative styles developed fragmentarily, in isolation from modernist practices developing elsewhere in Europe. The advent of new democratic society and the end of the Second World War, however, ushered in a period of renewal for the medium, invigorated by foreign publications and exhibitions of work from abroad which began to appear in Italy.

At the centre of this activity were photo-clubs, which met to discuss ideas, organise exhibitions and publish manifestos. Two of the most influential clubs were La Bussola, founded in 1947 by Luigi Veronesi, Giuseppe Cavalli and others, and La Misa, formed by Cavalli in 1953. Their differing approaches embodied the two conflicting tendencies that were at the heart of debate around new directions for the medium at the time.

La Bussola insisted on photography’s position as an autonomous art form, beyond being a tool of reportage. Its members emphasised a rigorous approach to composition, technique and formalist experiment.

The younger generation associated with La Misa, by contrast, combined formal considerations with the social documentary practice developing elsewhere in Europe and the USA. The subjective, expressionist approach of photographers such as Piergiorgio Branzi and Alfredo Camisa depicted a changing Italy, from the harsher conditions of life in the south to the modernising effects of the post-war economic and industrial boom.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/italian-modernist-photography

Cao Fei

  • 25 October 2014 — 25 October 2016 *on now

Whose Utopia? 2006 contrasts the humdrum reality of life in a lighting factory with the dreams and aspirations of its younger workers at a time of economic growth and social change in China.

Artist Cao Fei spent six months with the employees of a lighting manufacturing plant in China’s Pearl River Delta region, an industrial megalopolis that in the past two decades has attracted great numbers of migrants from poor rural areas. The artist documented the workers’ daily life, from the factory floor to their humble living quarters. At the same time she conducted interviews about their passions and ambitions beyond their day job, and invited some of the workers to be filmed performing scenes based on their responses.

The first part of the video shows workers absorbed in their repetitive tasks, acting almost as extensions of the machinery surrounding them. From the relentless rhythms of the assembly line to the busy offices and orderly stockrooms, the whole process takes on a hypnotic quality, enhanced by the eerie instrumental soundtrack. In the second part the factory aisles are animated by the fantasies of a handful of workers, seen dancing or playing guitar as their colleagues keep toiling, seemingly unaware. The final segment consists of filmed portraits of individual workers, pausing from their tasks to look straight into the camera. Such vignettes offer a glimpse into their personalities and inner lives, depicting them as much more than cogs in the collectivist machine fuelling China’s economy.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/cao-fei

Elegies

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

The works in this room explore meditative and sometimes sombre approaches to abstraction, each concerned in some way with the passing of time.

While the shadow of the Second World War dominates the central room of this wing, Robert Motherwell was haunted by the conflict that preceded it, in which the forces of fascism triumphed: the Spanish Civil War. Begun while Spain was still ruled by General Franco’s military dictatorship, Motherwell’s Elegies to the Spanish Republic grew to a vast series of paintings. In 1951 Motherwell described them as ‘an attempt to compose a subjective image of modern Spain. They are all in black and white: celebrations of death, songs of mourning, elegies – barbaric and severe.’

Contrasting with the mood of mournful grandeur summoned by Motherwell, Joan Mitchell’s paintings draw the eye in with subtle chromatic effects. Her work often evokes memories of the natural landscape, traced through the process of painting and embodied not through literal description but in clusters and drips of paint. The energetic handling in Number 12 announces the action of making in a way that echoes the critic Harold Rosenberg’s famous description of the canvas as ‘an arena in which to act’.

The Korean artist Lee Ufan was one of the leaders of the Mono-Ha group, which emerged in Japan in the late 1960s and used the arrangement of materials to explore relationships between the object, the viewer and the world. His paintings echo the visual language of western abstraction but are also rooted in the artist’s philosophical concerns. The From Line series uses repetitive brushwork to portray the passage of time. Each vertical line is composed by loading the brush with paint and slowly drawing it downward, recording the gradual fading of the stroke.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/elegies

Abstraction and the Sublime

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

This room looks at some of the affinities linking American post-war abstraction and the European tradition of landscape painting.

When American abstract expressionism developed in the 1940s and 1950s, the vigorous style of artists such as Jackson Pollock was matched by a similarly intense but more contemplative approach, characterised by large fields of colour. It was principally associated with Barnett Newman and Mark Rothko, who both saw their work as capable of generating a profound emotional or spiritual response in the viewer.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/abstraction-and-sublime

Nam June Paik

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

This two-room display presents a selection of works by a pioneer of media art, Nam June Paik.

Paik used television as an artistic medium from the early 1960s and developed a unique style of video art based on technological innovation and creative experimentation. His work altered and transformed newly found technologies. Although art and technology were often seen as diametrically opposed to each other, Paik paved a way to integrate them.

Paik was born in South Korea and studied music in Japan and Germany. Influenced by and working alongside musicians such as John Cage and Karlheinz Stockhausen, and artists such as Joseph Beuys, he developed a great interest in electronic music and dada-inspired provocative aesthetics. Paik was also closely involved in the New York avant-garde and Fluxus, an informal international group of avant-garde artists active from the early 1960s to the late 1970s.

This display showcases the diversity of Paik’s practice, ranging from Can Car 1963, an early ready-made sculpture, to Nixon 1965–2002, which incorporates manipulated cathode-ray-tube televisions, and Bakelite Robot 2002, a humanoid machine sculpture. Based on his observations of everyday life and the increasing influence of mass-media, this group of works represents Paik’s visionary approach towards the future of art and his continued relevance to contemporary practice.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/nam-june-paik

Close-up: Identity and the Photographic Portrait

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

Taken in the street or in other informal settings, these portraits by Lisette Model and Paz Errázuriz capture a range of striking individuals in distinctive social environments.

Lisette Model’s photographs ‘record a relentless probing and searching into realities among people, their foibles, senselessness, sufferings, and on occasion, their greatness’, wrote the photographer Edward Steichen. ‘The resulting pictures are often camera equivalents of bitter tongue-lashings. She strikes swift, hard and sharp, then comes to a dead stop, for her work is devoid of all extraneous devices or exaggerations.’

Carefully selected by Model for a portfolio spanning her career, the photographs shown here include some of her best-known images from the 1930s and 1940s. Model’s close-up views of people on the streets of Paris, New Yorkand the French Riviera were often taken without the subjects’ awareness or permission, while the old or destitute people that she captured in New York Cityseem not to care about the presence of the photographer.

By contrast, Paz Errázuriz forms strong relationships with her subjects over an extended period of time. She often explores groups on the margins of society, and her series Adam’s Apple portrays the transvestite community in Santiago, Chile, in the early 1980s. The sitters are presented going about their everyday lives, in their homes, in their neighbourhood, and with friends and family. Taken at the height of General Pinochet’s military dictatorship, the images were not published until 1990, when they appeared as a book through the experimental Chilean publisher ZONA. However, on the day it was released, the book was rejected by every bookshop in Santiago and only a single copy was sold.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/close-identity-and-photographic-portrait

Surrealism and Beyond

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

For the poets and artists of the surrealist movement, dreams stood for all aspects of the world repressed by rationalism and convention.

Surrealism was distinguished among twentieth-century art movements for its longevity, embodied in André Breton, who wrote the First Manifesto of Surrealism in 1924 and remained at its heart until his death in 1966. Initially stimulated by Sigmund Freud’s theories of the unconscious mind, Breton and his associates looked to dreams to release hidden desires and irrational love, the delirium of obsession and madness. Ultimately, they saw the dream as a revolutionary force, and attempted to reconcile the liberation of desire with the political liberation envisaged by Karl Marx.

The ‘revolution of the mind’ sought by surrealism drew upon the uncensored creative impulses of the unconscious. This ensured that it never became a style. Artists such as René Magritte or Salvador Dalí used the imagery of dreams themselves as a source for their work. For others, including Joan Miró and Jean Arp, automatic techniques of drawing or writing without premeditated themes or correction opened a floating world of abstract associations. They even captured such unexpected conjunctions in the way that they mounted their exhibitions. The International Surrealist Exhibition of 1936 introduced the movement to London with dissimilar works set densely against each other. This display follows the same method to plunge into what the surrealist poet Louis Aragon called ‘a wave of dreams’.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/surrealism-and-beyond

Niki de Saint Phalle and Richard Serra

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

Two works that bring to life questions of process, gravity and material open the Energy and Process wing.

The central space of the Energy and Process wing is devoted to artists working in the late 1960s who explored materials and forms derived from nature and everyday life. The Italian artists associated with arte povera revolutionised the making of the art object. As well as using ‘poor’ materials (such as rags, clay or wood), their work often included traces of the artist’s actions, harnessed latent energies such as gravity or magnetism, and disrupted the space between the viewer and the artwork. Related ideas were investigated by other artists around the world. In the United States, for example, the term ‘anti-form’ was applied to sculpture that embraced chance and other organic processes. Surrounding displays show how these developments had their antecedents in early modernism and have been extended into installations and into the environment beyond the gallery.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/niki-de-saint-phalle-and-richard-serra

Giorgio de Chirico and Jannis Kounellis

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

This pairing of works by Jannis Kounellis and Giorgio de Chirico introduces the Poetry and Dream wing.

The displays in Poetry and Dream show how contemporary art grows from, reconnects with, and can provide fresh insights into the art of the past. The large room at the heart of the wing is devoted to surrealism, while the surrounding displays look at other artists who, in different ways, have responded to or diverged from surrealism, or explored related themes such as the world of dreams, the unconscious and archetypal myth. These displays also show how characteristically surrealist techniques such as free association, the use of chance, biomorphic form and bizarre symbolism have been reinvigorated in new contexts and through new media, often at far remove from the intentions of their pioneers.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/giorgio-de-chirico-and-jannis-kounellis

Around Abstract Art 1920–1935

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

In the period between the two world wars, artists developed new forms of abstract art based on aesthetic idealism and the vision of a more perfect society.

In 1937, Piet Mondrian wrote of two threads in contemporary art: ‘the aesthetic expression of oneself’ and ‘the direct creation of universal beauty’. The contrast is telling. Living in an era defined by the chaos of revolution and war, Mondrian and others stepped away from individualism and appealed to the harmonious relationships rooted in the laws of geometry. These structures appealed to many artists and architects as ideal forms fit for a new world. Naum Gabo, who had direct experience of the Russian Revolution, asserted that the ‘material destruction’ of the era ‘cannot deprive us of our optimism … since we see that in the realm of ideas we are now entering the period of reconstruction.’

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/around-abstract-art-1920-1935

Beyond Surrealism

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

he influence of surrealism stretched far beyond the confines of the movement, as individual artists made their own explorations of the irrational and the unconscious.

Pablo Picasso was among those who drew strength from the surrealist movement, harnessing its energies to produce work of an extraordinary intensity. One reason for this wider diffusion of surrealist themes was a growing awareness of the overwhelming power of the irrational. New insights were provided by cultural and psychoanalytic theories such as Sigmund Freud’s ideas of sex and death as primal drives, and the archetypes identified by Carl Jung.

The traumatic experience of the Second World War cast a long shadow over the art of the 1940s and 1950s. Germaine Richier, who had made traditional figurative sculptures before the war, now produced distorted animal and partly human figures that seemed to embody the anxieties and despair of contemporary Europe. The CoBrA group (the name was derived from Copenhagen, Brussels and Amsterdam, where the founders were based) rejected Breton’s decision to turn away from politics, while championing a spontaneous creativity that would anticipate social and political liberation.

Surrealist ideas also began to flourish outside Western Europe. Several surrealists, including Breton, took refuge from the war in New York, and their presence helped to ferment the work of American artists including Robert Motherwell, Dorothea Tanning and Arshile Gorky, whose Waterfall relates to the Connecticut landscape, but also to memories of his native Armenia.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/beyond-surrealism

Henry Wessel

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

From parking lots and highways to suburban houses and hotel lobbies, Henry Wessel’s technically sophisticated photographs depict America’s social landscape.

Described by Wessel as a ‘work without words’, Incidents is a portfolio of 27 photographs recently acquired by Tate, depicting ordinary moments in the everyday lives of strangers. Captured from his car, on the street, or in other public places, and taken with minimal interaction with the subject, these commonplace scenes are framed by Wessel as if they were isolated moments from a grander narrative.

Incidents was not originally produced as a series. Instead, it emerged from Wessel’s process of returning to his archive of contact sheets and discovering connections between images taken years or even decades apart. Wessel has said that this manner of working distances him from the subjective experience of shooting.

Wessel has lived in the San Francisco Bay Area since 1971, attracted by the distinctive light of the West Coast, which remains central to his practice. The images in Incidents are printed in a range of grey tones with minimal contrast to capture that bright, soft quality. ‘My craft is duplicating the light that exists in the physical world. That’s my measure of a good print,’ he has said.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/henry-wessel-0

Nicholas Hlobo

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

Nicholas Hlobo weaves, plaits and stitches together disparate materials such as satin ribbon and the inner tubes of car tyres to create intricate and seductively tactile sculptures and drawings.

Hlobo always titles his work in his native language, Xhosa, an Nguni language widely spoken in South Africa. Attracted to the formal qualities of the grammar, the sounds of the words, and the linguistic flexibility of Xhosa, Hlobo’s use of the language, with all its poetic idioms, proverbs, and double entendres, is as much about defining himself as it is an effort to emphasise the challenges of openly talking about homosexuality inSouth Africa.

The process of making is fundamental to Hlobo’s work. In his sculptures and drawings he utilises techniques such as stitching and weaving, which inSouth Africa are traditionally undertaken by women. His choice of materials is similarly charged with meaning. The old and punctured inner tubes of car tyres that he gathers from repair shops inJohannesburgare a symbol of industrialisation and the urban experience. Resembling condoms, the inner tubes are also a symbol of masculinity and sex, something that is made explicit by Hlobo’s use of phallus and sperm shapes, and forms suggesting orifices, umbilical cords and internal organs. The satin ribbon that he uses to make his marks on paper suggests femininity, domesticity and unification, in contrast to the more ‘masculine’ materials that it binds together. The ribbon, and the way it is used, challenges gender-based assumptions about divisions of labour and introduces a more ambiguous approach to sexuality.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/nicholas-hlobo-0

Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

The imaginary architectures of Alexander Brodsky and Ilya Utkin rethink the city as a dream landscape, blending memories of the past with visions for the future.

Russian artists Brodsky and Utkin first met at the Moscow Institute of Architecture in 1972, and developed distinct practices combining architecture with fine art. They became part of an informal movement known as the ‘Paper Architects’, who produced elaborate, impossible designs. Contrasting markedly with the austere utilitarianism of the Soviet Union in the 1970s and 1980s, this approach became an oblique form of architectural criticism.

From the early 1980s, Brodsky and Utkin collaborated primarily on etchings, working on each copper plate for years. Their dense style of engraving emulates the antique appearance of prints from the eighteenth or nineteenth centuries.

The etchings in this display are all taken from their Projects portfolio (1980-90) and draw upon a variety of architectural, literary and visual sources, from classical mythology to science fiction. They depict absurd proposals and fictional cityscapes as eclectic mixes of ancient mausoleums, early industrial structures, neoclassical utopias and constructivist towers. Some of them present the modern metropolis as oppressive and alienating, reflecting the experience of living under a totalitarian regime.

In 1993 Brodsky and Utkin ended their collaboration in order to pursue their individual practices. Brodsky’s sculpture The Factory 2012, made out of brittle unfired clay, presents an industrial building as a ruin, a sombre relic of the economic system at the core of Soviet ideology, which now lies abandoned and dilapidated.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/alexander-brodsky-and-ilya-utkin-0

Everyday Alchemy: Contemporary Sculpture

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

This display brings together a selection of contemporary sculpture by international artists who use everyday objects and a wide range of materials to explore questions of value.

In several of the works, the museum plinth has become part of the sculpture itself, indicating the artists’ interest in methods of display and how they are used to elevate the status of an object.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/everyday-alchemy-contemporary-sculpture

Cubism

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

In 1909 Georges Braque’s paintings were described as made of ‘little cubes’. The insult was soon embraced as a name for this new vision of the world.

The term cubism described the fragmented image, but could not really convey the perceptual and conceptual aspects of the artists’ practice. Turn-of-the-century scientific and technological advances, such as X-rays and radio-waves that penetrated the fixed surface of matter, made pictorial conventions seem inadequate for capturing modern life. Instead the structures of cubist paintings attempted to represent the complex nature of experience while acknowledging the flat canvas.

From 1909 to 1914, Georges Braque and Pablo Picasso developed a detailed visual analysis of reality. They began by unravelling the familiar world about them, depicting still-lives and figures. The limited colour and build-up of small brushstrokes were influenced by Paul Cézanne, while African art encouraged the simplification of forms as planes or facets. The reconstruction of reality became evident as traces of the visible were gradually eliminated (especially around 1911), and illusory elements in collage and assemblage were introduced from 1912 onwards.

Braque and Picasso’s intense collaboration tended to be exclusive, with neighbours such as Juan Gris gaining only partial acceptance. Nevertheless, the impact of cubism was very widely felt among Parisian artists such as Jean Metzinger and Albert Gleizes, who published Du Cubisme in 1912, and among modernists in other major centres who rethought it for their own purposes. Though Braque and Picasso did not entirely relinquish reference to the visual world, others recognised cubism as an essential step towards abstract art. When Naum Gabo wrote of ‘The Constructive Idea in Art’ in the 1930s he was forthright: ‘All previous schools in Art have been … merely reformers, Cubism was a revolution.’

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/cubism

Facing History: Leon Golub & Hrair Sarkissian

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

This room brings together two bodies of work that confront the violence and atrocities of contemporary war and civil society.

Vietnam II 1973 belongs to a series of three large paintings made in the early 1970s by American artist Leon Golub, drawing upon news photographs from the Vietnam War for their imagery and subject matter. Golub had been involved in the protest movement against the war since the early 1960s, but wanted his paintings to remain universal and timeless. After Richard Nixon’s landslide election victory over the anti-war platform of Senator George McGovern in 1972, he felt impelled to address the conflict more directly. A primary source of inspiration was Picasso’s Guernica, which Golub described as ‘the visual metaphor of a newspaper, a super photograph or comic strip. It is “read” urgently and the viewer is assaulted by the tumult and violence.’

Hrair Sarkissian’s Execution Squares 2008 comprises a series of photographs depicting the sites of public executions in Syria, the artist’s country of birth. The images were taken in three different cities – Damascus, Aleppo and Lattakia – in places where public executions have taken place, for civil rather than political crimes. Sarkissian took these photographs early in the morning when the streets were quiet, around the time when executions are carried out. The subject of an execution will usually be brought to the square at 4.30 a.m., but their body is routinely left there in full view of passers-by until around 9.00 a.m. Sarkissian’s first personal experience of an execution was as a child when he passed one of these squares on his journey to school and saw three bodies hanging in the street.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/facing-history-leon-golub-hrair-sarkissian

Mark Rothko

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

Mark Rothko saw these paintings as objects of contemplation, demanding the viewer’s complete absorption.

In the late 1950s, Rothko was commissioned to paint a series of murals for the fashionable Four Seasons restaurant, in the Seagram Building on Park Avenue, New York. He set to work, having constructed a scaffold in his studio to match the exact dimensions of the restaurant. However, the murals were darker in mood than his previous work. The bright and intense colours of his earlier paintings shifted to maroon, dark red and black.

Rothko was influenced by Michelangelo’s Laurentian Library in Florence, with its blind windows and deliberately oppressive atmosphere. Rothko commented that Michelangelo ‘achieved just the kind of feeling I’m after – he makes the viewers feel that they are trapped in a room where all the doors and windows are bricked up, so that all they can do is butt their heads forever against the wall.’

Recognising that the worldly setting of a restaurant would not be the ideal location for such a work, Rothko withdrew from the commission. He finally presented the series to the Tate Gallery, expressing his deep affection for England and for British artists, especially J.M.W. Turner, an affinity that is explored in the preceding room. This installation includes six of the nine paintings owned by Tate. Perceived, as the artist intended, in reduced light and in a compact space, the subtlety of the layered surfaces slowly emerges, revealing their solemn and meditative character.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/mark-rothko

New Images of Man

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

The fundamental question for many artists in the middle of the twentieth century was how to continue to make art after the catastrophes of world war, the Holocaust and the threat of nuclear annihilation.

The atrocities associated with the Second World War signalled such a total collapse of civilisation that creativity had to acknowledge and respond to that rupture. ‘Hell is other people’ wrote Jean-Paul Sartre in the existentialist drama Huis Clos 1944, signalling the impossibility of true communication between individuals, while the philosopher Theodor Adorno held that ‘to write poetry after Auschwitz is barbaric’.

Isolation and desolation bled into the highly personalised art of abstract expressionism and the European movement informel. The scarred surface of the work bore witness to the artist’s actions, asserting their presence in the world. ‘To help art regain its place,’ wrote Jean Dubuffet, ‘it should … be seen naked with all the creases of its belly.’ The human figure persisted within and alongside the physical gesture, and Francis Bacon’s focus on the isolated body found echoes in the work of contemporaries such as Willem De Kooning and Alberto Giacometti.

The coalescence of figuration and abstraction was quickly recognised. In 1959 many of the artists in this room were included in Peter Selz’s New Images of Man exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art in New York. The French critic Michel Tapié had already proposed an energetic renewal in 1952 in Un Art autre (A different art): ‘True creators know that the only possible way for them to express their unavoidable message is through the extraordinary: paroxysm, magic, total ecstasy.’

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/new-images-man

Thomas Hirschhorn and Germaine Richier

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

Opening the Transformed Visions wing are two sculptures that explore the hybridisation of the body.

The central room in this wing looks at the tension between the bodily and the abstract in the art of the 1950s. Living through the physical, moral and humanitarian crises that followed the Second World War, artists were faced with the dilemma of how to make art in the shadow of catastrophe. Wary of false idealisms, some artists engaged more closely with the physical materials of art-making, while others focused on the body as a site for transformation. The surrounding galleries examine ways in which the figure has continued to be the bearer of meaning, protest or renewal in the face of conflict and disaster. There are also several rooms devoted to the elegiac and sublime, with immersive works in which form and colour allow direct emotional engagement.

The introductory pairing of works by Germaine Richier and Thomas Hirschhorn reveals two sharply contrasting ways of presenting the human figure. In Shepherd of the Landes 1951, Richier characteristically merged and modified the human with elements of its surroundings. Its eroded surface reflects the artist’s belief that ‘perforations conduct like flashes of lightning into the material’, and the resulting blasted and scarred figure appears to bear witness to contemporary tragedy. Half a century later, Thomas Hirschhorn’s Candelabra with Heads 2006 approaches the hybrid body through an adoption of biomorphic forms. Despite his use of impermanent materials, the result suggests an ossification of the body that recalls mythology as well as science fiction.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/thomas-hirschhorn-and-germaine-richier

Anthony Caro

  • 8 November 2014 — 8 November 2016 *on now

Sir Anthony Caro, who died in December 2013, was one of the most significant sculptors of his generation, pioneering a new means of expression through his innovative use of industrial steel.

In a career of great versatility lasting over sixty years, Caro challenged a number of the conventions of modern sculpture. In the early 1960s, he placed works straight on the floor, rather than elevating them on a plinth, establishing a more direct relation with the viewer. Their brightly painted surfaces were a similarly radical departure from sculptural orthodoxy at the time, with shockingly contemporary colours that reflected the influence of Caro’s wife, the painter Sheila Girling. These developments took place as part of Caro’s creative dialogue with American artists, especially David Smith, while as a teacher at St Martin’s School of Art he encouraged the so-called ‘New Generation’ of British sculptors who emerged in the mid-1960s.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/anthony-caro

Shomei Tomatsu

Conflict, Time, Photography

  • 26 November 2014 — 15 March 2015 *on now

Timed specifically to coincide with the centenary of the First World War, this exhibition concerns the relationship between photography and sites of conflict over time, highlighting the fact that time itself is a fundamental aspect of the photographic medium. It will include different perspectives which artists using cameras have brought to the sites they have depicted over different passages of time: from works made a few moments or one day after an event, to those made one year later or 10, 20, 30 and 100 years later. Subjects covered include conflicts from all over the world in the 19th, 20th and 21st centuries, including key themes of landscape, ruination, reconstruction and the human cost of conflict.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/100-years-later-conflict-time-photography

Marlene Dumas: The Image as Burden

  • 5 February — 10 May 2015

Marlene Dumas is one of the most prominent painters working today. Her intense, psychologically charged works explore themes of sexuality, love, death and shame, often referencing art history, popular culture and current affairs.

‘Secondhand images’, she has said, ‘can generate first-hand emotions.’ Dumas never paints directly from life, yet life in all its complexity is right there on the canvas. Her subjects are drawn from both public and personal references and include her daughter and herself, as well as recognisable faces such as Amy Winehouse, Naomi Campbell, Princess Diana, even Osama bin Laden. The results are often intimate and at times controversial, where politics become erotic and portraits become political. She plays with the imagination of her viewers, their preconceptions and fears.

Born in 1953 in Cape Town, South Africa, Dumas moved to the Netherlands in 1976, where she came to prominence in the mid-1980s. This large-scale survey is the most significant exhibition of her work ever to be held in Europe, charting her career from early works, through seminal paintings to new works on paper.

The title of the exhibition is taken from The Image as Burden 1993, a small painting depicting one figure carrying another. As with many of Dumas’s works, her choice of title deeply affects our interpretation of the work. It hints at the sense of responsibility faced by the artist in choosing to create an image that can translate ideas about painting and the position of the artist. For Dumas it is important ‘to give more attention to what the painting does to the image, not only to what the image does to the painting.’

In an age dominated by the digital image and mass media, Dumas cherishes the physicality of the human touch with work that is a testament to the meaning and potency of painting.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/marlene-dumas-image-burden

Sonia Delaunay

  • 15 April — 9 August 2015

Sonia Delaunay (1885–1979) was a key figure in the Parisian avant-garde and became the European doyenne of abstract art.

Throughout the first half of the twentieth century, she celebrated the modern world of movement, technology and urban life, exploring new ideas about colour theory together with her husband Robert Delaunay.

This will be the first UK retrospective to assess the breadth of her vibrant artistic practice across a wide range of media. It will feature the groundbreaking paintings, textiles and clothes she made across a sixty-year career, as well as the results of her innovative collaborations with poets, choreographers and manufacturers, from Diaghilev to Liberty.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/sonia-delaunay

Agnes Martin

  • 3 June — 11 October 2015

This will be the first retrospective of the seminal American painter Agnes Martin since her death in 2004.

Martin was renowned for her subtle, evocative canvases marked out in pencil grids and pale colour washes. Her apparently minimal approach belied a deep conviction in the emotive and expressive power of art.

This major exhibition will cover the full breadth of Martin’s practice, reasserting her position as a key figure in the traditionally male-dominated fields of 1950s and 1960s abstraction.

The show will trace her career from early experiments to late work, as well as demonstrate her profound influence on subsequent generations of artists.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/agnes-martin

The World Goes Pop

  • 17 September 2015 — 24 January 2016

This groundbreaking exhibition will reveal how artists around the world engaged with the spirit of Pop art, from Latin America to Asia, and from Europe to the Middle East.

Exploding the traditional story of Pop art, The World Goes Pop is the culmination of far-reaching new research, showing how different cultures contributed, re-thought and responded to the movement.

Around 200 works from the 1960s and 1970s will be brought together, many shown in the UK for the first time.

The exhibition will reveal how Pop was never just a celebration of western consumer culture, but was often a subversive international language for criticism and public protest.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/world-goes-pop

The Hyundai Commission

  • 13 October 2015 — 20 March 2016

Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art, enjoyed by an audience of millions each year.

The way artists have interpreted this vast industrial space has revolutionised public perceptions of contemporary art in the twenty-first century.

October 2015 will see the first of a new ten-year series – the annual Hyundai Commission – giving artists an opportunity to create new site-specific installations for this unique context.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/hyundai-commission

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture

  • 11 November 2015 — 3 April 2016

American sculptor Alexander Calder was a radical figure who pioneered kinetic sculpture, bringing movement to static objects.

Calder travelled to Paris in the 1920s, having originally trained as an engineer, and by 1931 he had invented the mobile, a term coined by Duchamp to describe Calder’s sculptures which moved of their own accord.

His dynamic works brought to life the avant-garde’s fascination with movement, and brought sculpture into the fourth dimension.

Continuing Tate Modern’s acclaimed reassessments of key figures in modernism, Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture will reveal how motion, performance and theatricality underpinned his practice. It will bring together major works from museums around the world, as well as showcasing his collaborative projects in the fields of film, theatre, music and dance.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/exhibition/alexander-calder-performing-sculpture

Events details are listed below. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all. For events that don't have a specific date see the 'Resources' tab above.

Vanessa Bell and Saluoa Raouda Choucair

  • 1 November 2014 — 1 November 2016 *on now

Introducing the Structure and Clarity wing, this room brings together works by two artists from different periods and different locations who were both pioneers of abstraction in their own place and time.

Vanessa Bell was one of the first British artists to experiment with abstraction. In the early 1910s her painting was radicalised by her encounter with works by artists such as Cézanne, Gauguin, Picasso and Matisse. ‘Here was a possible path’, she wrote, ‘a sudden liberation and encouragement to feel for oneself, which were absolutely overwhelming.’

Lebanese artist Saloua Raouda Choucair’s approach to western abstraction is enriched and complicated by her knowledge of Islamic aesthetics, and by the influence of mathematics and science. Since the mid-1950s Choucair has worked mainly with sculpture, producing several series of modular forms. Works such as Poem Wall are often made up of interlocking pieces. Choucair explores the way in which component pieces relate to the whole, mirroring the structures of Sufi poetry.

Website

http://www.tate.org.uk/whats-on/tate-modern/display/vanessa-bell-and-saluoa-raouda-choucair

Resources listed here may include websites, bookable tours and workshops, books, loan boxes and more. You may need to scroll down or click on headers to see them all.

BT series: Hear artists talk about their work

http://www.tate.org.uk/btseries/

The BT Series is a unique initiative for Tate Online which lets you explore works by selected artists and ask about their work.
The BT Series has been developed with BT's creative design and filmmaking team. As exclusive sponsor of Tate Online, BT provides Tate with technological support, online broadcasting and hosting, and develops innovative projects like this.

Online Courses

Tate's new online course on Artists' Techniques and Methods is the first of a new selection of online courses to be launched over the next two years.

Online Study Days

http://www.tate.org.uk/learning/studydays/

The study days often relate closely to major exhibitions at Tate Modern or to key aspects of the curriculums taught at The Open University. Each study day is broken into a series of short presentations, which are supported with summary information and suggested further reading. The content will have most value for those with some existing knowledge in histories and theories of modern art.

Schools and Teachers

http://www.tate.org.uk/schoolsteachers/

All the resources you need for teaching art in the classroom, from Teachers' Packs to teacher training

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