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Tate Britain Commission: Heather Phillipson RUPTURE NO.1: blowtorching the bitten peach

Heather Phillipson
Photograph by Rory Van Millingen
Heather Phillipson Photograph by Rory Van Millingen

Heather Phillipson (b.1978, London) will be the next artist to undertake the annual Tate Britain Commission. To be unveiled when the museum reopens, this major commission will be the latest response to the unique architecture and context of the neo-classical Duveen Galleries at the heart of Tate Britain.

Audacious and disconcerting, Heather Phillipson’s expansive, multimedia projects include video, sculpture, installation, music, poetry and digital media. Described by the artist as ‘quantum thought-experiments’, her works often carry a sense of latent threat – a feeling that received ideas, images, and the systems that underpin them may be on the verge of collapse.

Philipson’s commission for Tate Britain, entitled RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach, will coincide with THE END, her 2020 commission for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, on view until spring 2022. Her sculpture for the plinth, a ten-metre-tall dollop of whipped cream topped with a cherry, a fly and a drone that transmits a live feed of the surrounding area, is characteristic of Phillipson’s strange and striking works.

Heather Phillipson’s recent solo projects include VOLTA, an online audio collage for Art on the Underground to coincide with the launch of the Fourth Plinth (2020), a full-length audio broadcast for BBC Radio 3 (also 2020), and new multi-media installations for the Martin Gropius Bau, Berlin and Sharjah Biennial 14 (both 2019). In 2018 she produced a major solo show at BALTIC Centre for Contemporary Art, a vast installation at Gloucester Road Underground station for Art on the Underground, and a new online work for the Museum of Contemporary Art Chicago. Other recent shows include the Whitechapel Gallery, London (2016), 32nd Bienal de Sāo Paulo (2016), Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt (2015) and the 14th Istanbul Biennial (2015). Phillipson received the Film London Jarman Award in 2016, the European Film Award Selection at the International Film Festival Rotterdam in 2018, and is also an acclaimed poet.

Alex Farquharson, Director, Tate Britain, said: “Heather Phillipson is one of today’s most exciting British artists and we’re thrilled to be working with her on this year’s Tate Britain Commission. She is renowned internationally for her unforgettable installations which tackle pressing contemporary issues in singular and remarkable ways. Right now, it’s also vital to support and give a platform to artists such as Phillipson who are directly addressing the future of our planet.”

Tate Britain Commission: Heather Phillipson, RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach is curated by Elsa Coustou, Curator of Contemporary British Art, Tate, and Zuzana Flaskova, Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary British Art, Tate.

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