Abraham Cruzvillegas in Tate Turbine Hall

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Abraham Cruzvillegas: Empty Lot
Hyundai Commission 2015
Turbine Hall
Tate Modern
Until 3rd April 2016

In 2012, the Tate said goodbye to the Unilever Series, the longterm sponsor who had supported exhibitions in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall for over a decade. Now it’s hello to the brand new Hyundai Commissions. The inaugural work in the new series of site-specific commissions for the Turbine Hall comes from Mexican artist Abraham Cruzvillegas.

For the next six months Cruzvillegas’ huge installation will occupy the cavernous space of the Turbine Hall. Entitled Empty Lot, this new work from Cruzvillegas is an allotment garden with a difference. From below the scaffolding structure looks like the prow of mighty ship cleaving its way down the Turbine Hall’s massive space, but from above the work is revealed to be two enormous triangular platforms stretching along the length of the hall, holding 240 wooden planters filled with soil.

The soil, 23 tonnes of it in total, has been collected from a diverse range of green spaces across London. The parks and gardens that have donated some of their topsoil include Regent’s Park, Buckingham Palace Gardens, the Horniman Museum Garden and even some from the residents’ garden of the Barbican Estate just over the river.

The soil will be given light and water but will otherwise be left entirely to its own devices. The idea is that whatever seeds, bulbs or fungi that are in this soil, either contained there naturally or having found their way accidentally, will sprout and soon there will be a unregulated garden growing in the Turbine Hall. A few green shoots are already poking through the surface here and there.

Will the soil from Buckingham Palace Gardens throw up a bulb from Her Majesty’s crocus patch come the spring? Or will a guerrilla gardener throw a seedbomb over the railings of the Turbine Hall bridge? Or perhaps some dandelion fluff will float in through the door or perchance a fungus spore will be brushed off a visitor’s coat?

It will be interesting to keep checking back with this happenstance garden over the next six months. I’m back at Tate Modern at the beginning of November to see Alexander Calder’s new exhibition so I’ll see how the Turbine Hall garden is growing then.

Photographs © The London Art File

Admission: FREE

Opening times:
Daily 10am – 6pm
Friday & Saturday late until 10pm

Abraham Cruzvillegas: Empty Lot
Hyundai Commission 2105
Turbine Hall
Tate Modern
London SE1 9TG

Tel: +44 (0)20 7887 8888

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