Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall – and plant-based art installations

It’s interesting to see that the forthcoming installation in the Tate Modern Turbine Hall is a plant based work.
The installation, by Abraham Cruzillegas, titled Empty Lot, is composed of ranks of raised beds in which plants of various types are growing (At least I think that plants are growing in them – I saw the beds today and lots of them seemed to be noticeably devoid of life. However, the installation doesn’t officially open until next week, so there’s time yet).
I’ll say a bit more about Abraham Cruzillegas’s installation in a few weeks’ time, when it’s fully functioning.
The reason I’m mentioning it now, a little prematurely, is because the plant based nature of the installation reminds me of a Tate Turbine Hall installation that I devised myself, shown in the photos below. This installation has never actually existed in real life, being a figment of my imagination.

My installation concept is called Crocus Carpet and it consists (as you can hopefully see in the photo below), of the whole floor of the Tate Modern turbine hall being turfed over and planted with crocuses, with pleasant pathways meandering between the flowers.
Art is often concerned with questioning one’s perceptions, and that’s exactly what this work does. The sensation of strolling through what feels like an area of parkland that’s actually inside a huge cathedral-like industrial building is hopefully a little unsettling and disorientating.

Tate Modern Turbine Hall installation - Crocus Carpet

Tate Modern Turbine Hall installation: Crocus Carpet (Artist’s impression)


However, Crocus Carpet doesn’t only make you question your perceptions solely by virtue of the fact that it’s an outdoor space that’s been transported indoors – it also does so because the crocuses aren’t what they seem. The following photo shows a small scale version of the same idea.
The crocuses are darts.
(This photo is of a real artwork of mine, created in 1995, in which inexpensive darts are positioned in a square of artificial turf with artificial flowers. The cheap and cheerful properties of the piece are part of its appeal.)

A square of artificial turf containing crocuses/darts


Here’s how the parts of the darts correspond to the different parts of a crocus.

A anatomy of a crocus/dart


Part of the appeal of Crocus Carpet is (hopefully) the way that it approaches concepts of reality, illusion, perception and deception – by utilising the dissonance arising from the similarity in appearance and the contrast in nature between soft, reassuring and comforting crocus flowers and hard, aggressive and potentially dangerous darts.

Here’s another version of the Crocus Carpet work, this time installed on the lawn outside Tate Britain. Again, this is a visualisation of the piece rather than being an actual artwork itself.

Crocus Carpet installation outside Tate Britain


Finally, here’s another site specific version of the installation – this time installed in a (real) garden in Cornwall.

Crocus Carpet art installation, St Ives, Cornwall

Darts as crocuses – a site specific installation near St Ives, Cornwall

See more of my art on my site dedicated to my artwork.


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Filed under 20th-21st century art, Art

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