What I try to do in my work is mix ideas of attraction and ideas of discomfort – colourful and attractive, but strangely, scarily surreal at the same time.
British sculptor and contemporary visual artist Hew Locke has created a new and exciting, large-scale installation for the 2022 Tate Britain Commission. The Procession invites visitors to ‘reflect on the cycles of history, and the ebb and flow of cultures, people and finance and power.’ Tate Britain’s founder was art lover and sugar refining magnate Henry Tate. In the installation, Locke says he ‘makes links with the historical after-effects of the sugar business, almost drawing out of the walls of the building,’ also revisiting his artistic journey so far, including for example work with statues, share certificates, cardboard, rising sea levels, Carnival, and the military.
Throughout, visitors will see figures who travel through space and time. Here, they carry historical and cultural baggage, from evidence of global financial and violent colonial control embellished on their clothes and banners, alongside powerful images of some of the disappearing colonial architecture of Locke’s childhood in Guyana. The installation takes inspiration from real events and histories but overall, the figures invite us to walk alongside them, into an enlarged vision of an imagined future.
The annual Tate Britain Commission invites artists to create a new artwork in response to the grand space of the Duveen Galleries. Artists who have previously undertaken the commission include Heather Phillipson, Anthea Hamilton, Cerith Wyn Evans and Pablo Bronstein.