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SUPERFLEX - One Two Three Swing!
Image Credit: SUPERFLEX: One Two Three Swing!

SUPERFLEX - One Two Three Swing!

7 October 2017 Samuel Turner

This week, the Tate revealed their new large scale installation in their Turbine Hall. Danish threesome SUPERFLEX's commission is the first installation to extend beyond the gallery walls, made up of an orange line connecting dozens of three-seated swings.

Tate Modern’s new turbine hall work is One Two Three Swing! by Danish collective SUPERFLEX and is the third annual Hyundai Commission. This new piece continues their dedication to a global network and seeks to challenge the general public’s social consciousness as an interactive installation in stages of apathy, production and movement. The artists have transformed the immense turbine hall into a communal urban environment where everyone is invited to meet, work, play, contemplate and even sleep within the gallery’s hall.
 
Founded in 1993 and based in Copenhagen, SUPERFLEX comprises of the three Danish artists Bjørnstjerne Christiansen, Jakob Fenger and Rasmus Nielsen. Having garnered an international reputation for both their solo and group work respectively, exhibiting from London to Tokyo to New York, their public art installations seek to challenge the role of the artist in contemporary society by addressing the nature of globalisation and systems of power. With this aim, their work functions as a new use for urban public space, themselves describing it as a tool and thereby having multiple areas and applications for use.
 

SUPERFLEX: One Two Three Swing! (c) SUPERFLEX 2017

Entering through the main turbine hall entrance you are confronted with a huge mirrored metallic pendulum suspended by a 20 metre cable - inspired by Olafur Eliasson’s turbine hall installation The Weather Project (2003). This hypnotic pendulum swings above, maintaining temporal cohesion yet breaking it by being liberated with free movement. Underneath the sphere, you can walk and even lie down upon a 770 squared metre carpet designed to represent all the colours of modern British currency. This part of the work alone takes up half the allotted space, but could easily comprise of the entire installation.
 
Beyond this, is bright orange piping that darts and ducks around the hall with the aim to break boundaries and link together communities. It even defies the Tate’s own walls by escaping behind the hall to link the main gallery with the new Blavatnik building, joining the spaces together in an entirely unique way. Below these pipes are an array of colourful swings, each with enough room for three people, and with the aim to encourage the public to combat social apathy by collectively swinging for fun. The desire here is to bring communities together, for people to share space and therefore their cultures, company and ideas in the global multicultural community of London and the gallery itself. Each swing has been purpose built for the installation. The materials, like their users, come from all over the world. Some swings are made from variations of wood as others are reclined swings made from leathers, while the entire floor on which the swings hover is made from completely natural, reusable and recyclable cork.


Installation view One Two Three Swing! (c) SUPERFLEX 2017

Past the pendulum, carpet, cork, pipes and swings, is a small workspace, called ‘the factory area’, on which more swings are in construction. These all sit ready to be transported with their pipes across the globe to continue their purpose. The bright orange pipe signifies that coming together, that formation of a community, and that is what SUPERFLEX hope to facilitate by continuing to install these pieces across London and, hopefully, the world.
 
The entire installation itself signifies a community. From small factory to playground to an area reminiscent of sleep, representing the cycle of everyday life. The work brings together gallery, people and ideas in a meditation based on intelligent fun, a testament to Tate’s promise to bring together communities while challenging contemporary thought and practices of art.

Hyundai Commission: Superflex One Two Three Swing! is at the Turbine Hall Tate Modern 3 October 2017 – 2 April 2018. Entrance is free.

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