Abraham Cruzvillegas Chosen For first Hyundai Tate Modern Turbine Hall Commission

Abraham Cruzvillegas

Abraham Cruzvillegas will undertake the inaugural Hyundai Commission for the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern. This will be the first in a new series of annual site-specific commissions by renowned international artists, and will open to the public on 13 October 2015. Hyundai replaces Unilever as the sponsor for this important annual art event.

Abraham Cruzvillegas is a Mexican artist best known for creating sculptural works from local found objects and materials. During the 1990s and 2000s, Cruzvillegas was among the key figures of a new wave of emerging conceptual artists in Mexico.

For the past few years, Cruzvillegas has created a body of work under the title autoconstrucción or ‘self-construction’, a term which usually refers to the way Mexicans of his parents’ generation arriving in the capital from rural areas in the 1960s, built their own houses in stages, improvising with whatever materials they could source. Cruzvillegas associates autoconstrucción with the strong community spirit and the optimism that emerged as these neighbourhoods were built. His approach to sculpture continues the principles of autoconstrucción, recycling locally found objects and improvising ways to build his works. Cruzvillegas is also concerned with how community spirit and hope can be maintained in precarious economic and political conditions. He draws from a history of radical art practices from Soviet avant-garde figures such as Rodchenko and Malevich, to more recent contemporary American artists Jimmie Durham and David Hammons.

These ideas and references have led to projects staged in Glasgow, Paris, Oxford, Gwangju, Kassel and many other places. During a residency at Cove Park in Scotland, Cruzvillegas gathered materials that included wool, discarded fencing, a rubber buoy, bits of wood, an old coat hanger to create a dynamic installation of sculptures. In Glasgow he created a modified bicycle which he pedalled through the city while playing music created in collaboration with local bands. The installation and the bicycle are now in Tate’s collection.

The Hyundai Commission is a new series of site-specific installations by contemporary artists in Tate Modern’s iconic Turbine Hall. It is made possible by a unique long-term partnership between Tate and Hyundai Motor, confirmed until 2025 as part of the longest initial commitment from a corporate sponsor in Tate’s history.

Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern said: “I am delighted that Abraham Cruzvillegas has accepted the first Hyundai Commission to make a new work for Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall. His work reflects Tate’s deep interest in showing truly ground-breaking international art.”

Hyundai Motor said: “The Hyundai Commission signifies the beginning of a cross-disciplinary collaboration between Hyundai and Tate. This strong partnership is made possible by a shared vision to focus on global talent. We are privileged to begin the Hyundai Commission with Abraham Cruzvillegas and realise our ambition to contribute to the global art community.”

Since Tate Modern opened in 2000, the Turbine Hall has hosted some of the world’s most memorable and acclaimed works of contemporary art, reaching an audience of millions. The way artists have interpreted this vast industrial space has revolutionised public perceptions of contemporary art in the twenty-first century. The annual Hyundai Commission gives artists an opportunity to create new work for this unique context.

Abraham Cruzvillegas was born in 1968 in Mexico City, where he continues to live and work, and studied at the Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México (UNAM). He is represented in several major museum collections, including Tate and MoMA, New York, and in recent years his work has been exhibited at Haus der Kunst, Munich (2014); Walker Art Center, Minneapolis (2013); Modern Art Oxford (2011) and The New Museum, New York (2011).

The Hyundai Commission: Abraham Cruzvillegas will be curated by Mark Godfrey, Curator, Tate Modern, with Hansi Momodu-Gordon, Assistant Curator, Tate Modern.


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