Hyundai Commission: Tania Bruguera


About the Exhibition

For her Hyundai Commission, Tania Bruguera unveiled a series of stealth interventions in response to the crisis in migration. Hyundai Commission: Tania Bruguera filled the Turbine Hall with low-frequency sound charging the vast space with an unsettling energy yet a sense that something is changing. Visitors were invited to take part in symbolic actions with focus on what it means to act and interact locally with our neighbors, from revealing a portrait of a person’s face hidden beneath a heat-sensitive floor, to crying under the influence of an organic compound. The work’s title—which was 10,142,926 when the exhibition opened—was an ever-increasing figure: the number of people who migrated from one country to another in 2017 added to the number of migrant deaths recorded so far from January 1, 2018. This numeric title was indicative of the sheer scale of mass migration and the risks involved. Rather than being printed on posters or labels, this numeric title was stamped directly on visitors’ wrists. Bruguera also aimed to counterbalance the overwhelming statistics by focusing on the acts of individuals. With a group of people living or working in the same postcode as Tate Modern, she explored how the museum can learn from its local community and as the first action renamed Tate Modern’s north building, in honor of local activist Natalie Bell, chosen for her positive contribution.

Hyundai Commission: Tania Bruguera: 10,142,926 was curated by Catherine Wood, Senior Curator of International Art (Performance), Tate Modern and Isabella Maidment, Assistant Curator of Performance, Tate Modern.

About the Artist

Tania Bruguera (b. 1968, Havana, Cuba), an artist and activist is renowned for creating art that addresses major political concerns, often taking the form of a political or social action in itself. Her work questions the nature of power structures, behaviors and values and she has consistently argued for art’s role as a useful agent of real change in the world, while using the museum as an active forum for public debate. Her work “Tatlin’s Whisper #5” (2008) which involves two mounted police officers performing crowd-control exercises inside the museum, is one of the major performance works in Tate’s collection. In 2012 Bruguera was also in residence at Tate Modern with her ongoing project Immigrant Movement International, in which visitors were required to line up and pass a lie detector test based on questions from the UK immigration form before being granted access to the Tanks. Solo exhibitions of her work have been staged at the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes in Havana, Neuberger Museum of Art, Van Abbemuseum, Centre Pompidou, Yerba Buena Center for the Arts, and MoMA, New York.

About the Program

Hyundai Commission

The annual Hyundai Commission is a series of new, site-specific installations by international artists in Tate Modern’s iconic Turbine Hall, made possible by a unique partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor. The Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most memorable exhibitions and the way artists have interpreted this space has revolutionized public perceptions of contemporary art. The annual Hyundai Commission offers contemporary artists an opportunity to create new work for this unique context while bringing forward many of today’s most pressing questions.

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