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From Latin America to London: Tania Bruguera at the Tate Turbine Hall

Posted on November - 6 - 2018

Body count … Tania Bruguera (centre) stands on the heat-sensitive floor of her Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock

Body count … Tania Bruguera (centre) stands on the heat-sensitive floor of her Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock

Amidst political recent controversies regarding the UK positions in the EU, London is still one of the art capitals of the world, characterized by its impressive museums, theatres, art fairs, and galleries, not to mention a great number of wealthy benefactors and collectors. The bustling city over the years has become a melting pot of people from every corner of the world and from all walks of life, and although Latin America is not a dominant community in London, it’s major art centers show the works of some of the best Latin American artists.

While exploring the fast-paced city, at the moment there are exhibitions with exiting works that are worth taking the time to admire. While walking in the Bankside area of the London Borough of Southwark, any art lover that is in London has to visit Britains most iconic galleries, the Tate Museum. Besides being known for its prestigious collection, the gallery began the 21st century with the Turbine Hall, a space that has attracted thousands of people resulting in blockbuster shows. Big names in the art world have created iconic installations in this spacious building, such as Anish Kapoor’s Marsyas (2002-3), Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project (2003-4) as well as the unforgettable Shibboleth (2008) by Colombian artists Doris Salcedo, whose poetic and powerful simplicity haunted spectators. It’s not an understatement that the Turbine Hall has hosted some of the most memorable and important works of contemporary art in the last years.

Ghostly imprint … Tania Bruguera’s Turbine Hall commission at Tate Modern. Photograph: Guy Bell/Rex/Shutterstock

Today, another Latin American, the third to be included in the Turbine Hall, has been commissioned with the mammoth undertaking of occupying the space as part of the Hyundai Commission. The acclaimed Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera work is titled 10,144,067 which is the amount of recorded migrant’s death. A highly political and militant artist, Bruguera deals with themes of immigration and institutions power. At the Turbine Hall, where she created many interventions in and around the Tate Modern. The artists brought together a group of 21 people who live or work in the same postcode as Tate Modern, called the Tate Neighbors. As well as utilizing the heat-sensitive floor, where visitors could leave an impression after a prolonged contact to reflect on the difficulty of creating intimacy between strangers. Another of her interventions involves spectators when they enter a room next to the Turbine Hall which induces tears. As the mysterious formula is kept secret, the artists’ purpose is to create what she calls ‘forced empathy’ to represent our apathy and desensitization of what we are exposed to in the news.

Bruguera‘s work is inspiring and relevant, where she blurs the boundary between art and activism, where art and interventions become political actions to precipitate change. For the Cuban artists to be presenting her strong and vital work in Tate Modern shows how relevant her message is and highlights the struggles that are taking place throughout the world, bidding Latin America with the rest of the world in a call to act together and interact in one of the art capitals of the world. As her title is not fixed, her show opened on October 2 and will run until 24th of February 2019.

By: Gabriela Martinez de la Hoz