Alvaro Barrington Chosen for Prestigious Tate Britain Commission

Alvaro Barrington

London’s Tate Britain is set to host Venezuelan-born artist Alvaro Barrington’s latest creation as part of its annual Tate Britain Commission. Born in 1983, Barrington will unveil his monumental piece on May 29th in the classically adorned Duveen Galleries, exploring themes of place and belonging.

Renowned for his expansive approach to painting, Barrington draws from a rich tapestry of personal memories and cultural influences, spanning music, pop culture, and art history. His unconventional use of materials, from concrete to brooms, evokes the sounds, colours, and social fabric of his upbringing split between Grenada and Brooklyn. Barrington’s artistic reach extends beyond traditional venues, including installations at London’s Notting Hill Carnival and Glastonbury Festival and the transformation of an East London basketball court.

Expressing his enthusiasm for the project, Barrington remarked, “This commission is such a great opportunity, and I am incredibly honoured to create new work for the Duveen Galleries.”

Tate Britain’s Director, Alex Farquharson, expressed excitement over Barrington’s selection, highlighting his significant contributions to contemporary British art since arriving in London in 2015. Farquharson lauded Barrington’s ability to blur the boundaries between painting, sculpture, and performance, noting his dedication to creating accessible artistic experiences.

Born to a Haitian father and a Grenadian mother, Barrington studied at New York’s Hunter College before relocating to London to attend the Slade School of Fine Art. His portfolio boasts international exhibitions, including solo shows at MoMA PS1 and South London Gallery, with works in prestigious collections worldwide.

Barrington’s commission joins a prestigious lineage of artists who have graced Tate Britain’s Duveen Galleries, including Hew Locke, Heather Phillipson, and Phyllida Barlow.

The Tate Britain Commission: Alvaro Barrington is generously supported by Bottega Veneta, with additional backing from The Alvaro Barrington Exhibition Supporters Circle and Tate Americas Foundation.

Alvaro Barrington (b. 1983 Caracas, Venezuela) is a multidisciplinary artist whose work delves into the interconnected histories of cultural production, migration, and identity. Born to Grenadian and Haitian parents, Barrington spent his formative years navigating between the Caribbean and Brooklyn, New York, where he developed a profound appreciation for the diverse cultural landscapes that shaped his upbringing.

Barrington’s practice is deeply rooted in exploring the cultural exchanges of the early 20th century, particularly between London and the Harlem Renaissance, both experienced significant migration from the Caribbean during the height of modernism. His acclaimed series “Garvey” delves into these historical contexts, investigating how they continue influencing artistic expression, notions of self, and identity construction.

Primarily identifying as a painter, Barrington’s artistic repertoire extends beyond traditional boundaries. His multimedia approach to image-making incorporates various materials such as burlap, textiles, postcards, and clothing. By employing these materials, Barrington explores their visual potential and delves into their personal, political, and commercial histories.

Based in London and New York, Barrington’s work reflects his unwavering commitment to community engagement and collaboration beyond the confines of gallery spaces. Barrington’s approach to painting is characterised by its inclusivity and experimentation. Embracing non-traditional techniques and materials like burlap, concrete, cardboard, and sewing, he blurs the lines between painting, sculpture, and installation, creating dynamic and immersive environments that invite viewers to explore the complexities of identity and belonging.

Curated by Dominique Heyse-Moore and Hannah Marsh, the exhibition runs from May 29, 2024, to January 26, 2025, at Tate Britain, Millbank, London.

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