NewsPerformance Published 1 May 2012

Tate Tanks at the Tate Modern

A dedicated space for live art and performance.

Diana Damian Martin

The Tanks at Tate Modern, the powerstation’s former oil chambers, will be open for the first time to the public as part of a four-month long festival running from 18th July- 28th October as part of London’s Cultural Olympiad. The East and South Tanks will be the first museum spaces permanently dedicated to exhibiting live art, performance, installation and film works. In addition, The Transformer Galleries next to the Tanks will showcase recent major acquisitions of film and performance, including Suzanne Lacy’s Crystal Quilt  and Lis Rhodes’ Light Music .

The East Tank will be solely dedicated to a commission by Korean video and performance artist Sung Hwan Kim sponsored by Sotheby’s, weaving Korean culture, folklore and history with personal fantasy through storytelling. The South Tank will be dedicated to a rolling series of projects exploring the history of interdisciplinary work- including performance and film- as well as symposia, a micro-festival by and for young people and artist-led participatory projects.

Highlights include Anne Teresa de Keersmaeker’s reworking of her seminal piece Fase, a residency by artist Tania Bruguera in which she will be developing a political party Immigrant Movement International as well as commissions from artists Eddie Peake, developing work exploring sexuality and voyeurism, and Haegue Yang’s new series of mobile performative sculptures. Boris Charmatz will be presenting a new act in his series A History of Performance in 10 Acts, and there will be a series of curated events exploring Filmaktion’s radical cinema work.

Art in Action: Materialising the Social will explore the role of performance art in social relationships, questioning the ways in which performance’s ephemerality establishes the field within art history, featuring presentations from Claire Bishop and Dorothea Von Hantelmann. Performance Year Zero: A Living History will consider how the museum might engage with performance art history, challenging Peggy Phelan’s construct of performance as an art of the present tense, and featuring contributions from Pierre Bal-Blanc, Rose Lee Goldberg and Yvonne Rainer. Last in the series of symposia will be Playing in the Shadows: Film Action, exploring liveness in cinema and the notion of projection as performance, with contributions from Lucy Reynolds and Aura Satz.

The festival will also feature a large-scale event for six hundred teachers, a collaboration between the Tate, Royal Shakespeare Company, British Museum and the National Theatre in the form of an international conference dedicated to exploring the value of arts in young people’s live from Shakespeare to the digital age as well an artist-led live action for five thousand participants.

The Tanks provide an opportunity for the gallery to respond to developments in modern and contemporary art practice, providing equal focus to forms of participation and engagement as well as performance, sound, installation and film work. The Tanks also aim to be a space for art which engages with social play. Following the festival, they close for construction work, due to re-open in 2016.


Diana Damian Martin

Diana Damian Martin is a London-based performance critic, curator and theorist. She writes about theatre and performance for a range of publications including Divadlo CZ, Scenes and Teatro e Critica. She was Managing Editor of Royal Holloway's first practice based research publication and Guest Editor for postgraduate journal Platform between 2012-2015. She is co-founder of Writingshop, a long term collaborative project with three European critics examining the processes and politics of contemporary critical practice, and a member of practice-based research collective Generative Constraints. She is completing her doctoral study 'Criticism as a Political Event: theorising a practice of contemporary performance criticism' at Royal Holloway, University of London and is a Lecturer in Performance Arts at Royal Central School of Speech and Drama.



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