Unifying Spaces

Tate Modern’s signature series of site-specific installations in the vast former industrial space of the Turbine Hall continues with the news that SUPERFLEX will be the next artists to undertake the Hyundai Commission to reinvent this major London venue, which is visited by millions each year. Their response to the Bankside space is unveiled to the public in October. The Danish collective are known for their playfully subversive installations and films, which challenge traditional expectations of the exhibition space.

Founded by artists Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger and Rasmus Nielsen, SUPERFLEX specialise in engaging, often humorous perspectives on the social and cultural concerns of our age, from migration to alternative energy production, and from the power of global capital to the regulation of intellectual property. Referring to their works as tools, SUPERFLEX are interested in alternative models of social and economic organisation, which are put into practice in their approach to their work.

In Superkilen (2011), for example, they undertook a major public park project in one of Copenhagen’s most diverse neighbourhoods. It was developed through collaboration with local residents from over 50 countries. SUPERFLEX employed a strategy they call “extreme participation” to engage the community and ultimately to create a unifying urban space with a distinct international identity. In contrast, Hospital Equipment (2014) highlighted the role of context in the definition of art. Consisting of an installation of surgical equipment dispatched directly from gallery to conflict zone, the work oscillates in its function between “readymade” artwork and potentially lifesaving objects. Also known for film works, SUPERFLEX has explored themes including the analysis of art forgeries, and migration at the outermost borders of the EU, through this medium.

Frances Morris, Director of Tate Modern, notes: “We are delighted to announce that SUPERFLEX will undertake the Hyundai Commission in 2017. Their work raises timely questions about the role of the artist in contemporary society, exploring how we interpret and engage with the increasingly complex world around us. I can’t wait to see how they tackle these themes within the unique scale and public context of Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall.”

The Hyundai Commission: SUPERFLEX, Tate Modern, London, 2 October – 2 April. For more information: www.tate.org.uk; www.superflex.net

1. Superkilen. Photo: Torben Eskerod.