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BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Our Bodies, Our Archives

Featuring Faustin Linyekula, Okwui Okpokwasili and Tanya Lukin Linklater

Okwui Okpokwasili, Poor People’s TV Room 2017. Performance view, New York Live Arts, April 18, 2017. Photo Paul B. Goode.
Okwui Okpokwasili, Poor People’s TV Room 2017. Performance view, New York Live Arts, April 18, 2017. Photo Paul B. Goode.

20 – 29 March 2020
In partnership with BMW

This March artists Faustin Linyekula, Okwui Okpokwasili and Tanya Lukin Linklater will take part in the BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Our Bodies, Our Archives. These artists, who each use the body in different ways to explore history, inheritance and storytelling, will create ten days of live performances and site-specific installations for Tate Modern’s underground Tanks. Opening on 20 March 2020, this will be the fourth annual BMW Tate Live Exhibition, part of the museum’s innovative performance programme in partnership with BMW.

Faustin Linyekula (b.1974) blends theatre, dance and music to articulate his experiences of social-political tensions in the Democratic Republic of Congo. Imagining the body as an archive he works with a circle of collaborators to physically express the traumatic legacies of colonialism and the upheaval of the DRC’s history since independence. For this exhibition Linyekula will present ticketed performances of My Body, My Archive (20 – 22 March)an intimate autobiographical performance combining carefully selected segments of his works Sur les traces de Dinozord 2006, Statue of Loss 2014, Batanaba 2017 and Congo 2019. Throughout the exhibition visitors will also be able to see free, un-ticketed sound and film installations of Linyekula’s work as well as intermittent performance in the gallery.

Okwui Okpokwasili (b.1972) explores the collision of memory and the present in her durational performances, activating installations designed by her partner Peter Born. Brought up in the Bronx, New York, Okpokwasili’s intensely physical performances make visible the experiences of women of colour, sometimes drawing from her Nigerian roots. During this exhibition Okpokwasili will stage three performances of Poor People’s TV Room Solo (26 – 28 March) which examines the inter-generational relationships between black women. Throughout the exhibition, visitors will also be able to take part in Okpokwasili’s un-ticketed work Sitting on a Man’s Head which invites gallery visitors to observe and voluntarily participate in an improvisational public song and dance within an architectural installation created for the gallery. On the final day of the exhibition, Sunday 29 March, members of the public are invited to join Okpokwasili for a procession in the Turbine Hall.

Tanya Lukin Linklater (b.1976) uses performance, poetry and installations to call attention to Indigenous histories. Originating from two communities in the Kodiak archipelago of southwestern Alaska – the Native Villages of Afognak and Port Lions – Lukin Linklater draws on interactions with her extended family, Indigenous knowledge and Alutiiq and Cree experiences on the land to inform her work. Devised for this exhibition, Lukin Linklater will debut a new work, women : iskwewak, drawing on these themes. This will comprise three ticketed performances (27 – 29 March) as well as free, open rehearsals for visitors to observe (26 – 28 March 2020) and an installation featuring Lukin Linklater’s films during gallery hours.

Each artist raises questions about shared memory, visibility and the relationship between material culture and immaterial tradition, challenging what these ideas mean within the context of a modern art museum. On the final day of the exhibition, Sunday 26 March, the three artists will take part in a panel discussion in which they will examine shared concerns around memory, history, inheritance and the cyclical nature of time.

BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Our Bodies, Our Archives will be the fourth edition of this experimental annual exhibition, following Anne Imhof’s sell-out performances in 2019. Taking place in the Tanks, the world’s first museum spaces dedicated to performance, film and installation, the BMW Tate Live Exhibitions have showcased a wide range of artists including Joan Jonas, Fujiko Nakaya, Isabel Lewis, Jason Moran, Min Tanaka, Jumana Emil Abboud, Wu Tsang and Fred Moten. This is part of Tate’s wider commitment to exhibiting, collecting and researching live performance art. Last year Tate announced a new fund to enable the staging of live works from the national collection and has since presented performances by Rose Finn-Kelcey, Tony Conrad and Allora and Calzadilla across Tate’s galleries.

BMW Tate Live Exhibition: Our Bodies, Our Archives is curated by Catherine Wood and Tamsin Hong and produced by Judith Bowdler.

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