Venice Biennale Star Artist Anne Imhof Will Bring an Anxiety-Inducing New Performance to Tate Modern in 2019

The artist was the talk of the 2017 Venice Biennale.

Anne Imhof. Photo by Nadine Fraczkowski.

Anne Imhof, winner of the prestigious Golden Lion award at last year’s Venice Biennale for her piece Faust, a brooding reflection on contemporary life, will create a new large-scale performance art commission for London’s Tate Modern in March 2019.

For the first time in the institution’s history, a single artist will present one project in the Tate Modern Tanks, a dedicated suite of performance, video, and installation art galleries that were used to store oil during the museum’s previous life as a power station. Imhof will create a series of atmospheric spaces inside, setting the mood for what is expected to be another bleak reflection on modern-day identity and isolation, both technological and social.

Taking place over a period of ten days, the piece will incorporate music, sculpture, and painting, as well as a six-day durational performance. Visitors will be able to explore the exhibition freely during the day, or come back in the evening for ticketed performances.

At the 57th Venice Biennale in 2017, Imhof created an austere and compelling installation for the German pavilion, with sullen performers moving stoically amid crowds of visitors as loud, dissonant music played throughout. Manuel Borja-Villel, president of the exhibition jury, called it “a powerful and disturbing installation that poses urgent questions about our time.”

Frasiska Aigner in Anne Imhof, <em>Angst II</em> (2016) at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Photo by Nadine Fraczkowski, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Bucholz Berlin/Cologne/New York.

Franziska Aigner in Anne Imhof, Angst II (2016) at the Hamburger Bahnhof, Berlin. Photo by Nadine Fraczkowski, courtesy of the artist and Galerie Bucholz Berlin/Cologne/New York.

The installation also transformed the German pavilion, adding glass floors beneath visitors’ feet to allow them to watch the performers as they moved through sparsely outfitted rooms below. Another work by Imhof, Angst, appeared at Kunsthalle Basel, La Biennale de Montréal, and the Hamburger Bahnhof in Berlin, where it was presented as Angst IIf.

Curated by Catherine Wood, senior curator of international art (performance), and Isabella Maidment, assistant curator of performance, Imhof’s upcoming show will be the Tate’s third annual BMW Tate Live Exhibition. Previous editions have featured the work of Joan Jonas, Fujiko Nakaya, Isabel Lewis, Jason Moran, Mark Leckey, Jumana Emil Abboud, Wu Tsang, and Fred Moten.

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