Floating Fish Invade Tate Modern's Turbine Hall

A vast exhibition space gets filled with surreal soundscapes and moving sculptures for French artist Philippe Parreno's 'Anywhen.'

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04 October 2016, 1:05pm


Hyundai Commission 2016 Philippe Parreno: Anywhen 4 October 2016 – 2 April 2017. Installation view of Hyundai Commission 2016: Philippe Parreno, Anywhen 2016 Photo credit: Tate Photography.

The vast 35,520 sq. ft. exhibition space of the Tate Modern's Turbine Hall in London has played host to the rising sun (Olafur Eliasson’s The Weather Project), 100 million porcelain sunflower seeds (courtesy of Ai Weiwei), and now some helium-filled flying fish, along with much else, thanks to French artist Philippe Parreno's new exhibition, Anywhen

According to the museum, the installation "plays with time and space, guiding the public through constantly changing stages of light, sound and moving elements." It features shoals of floating balloon-fish gliding about, while a soundscape partly created from real-time sounds from outside adds to the chaos. These come from rows of speakers that rise and fall from the ceiling on wires. There is also a marquee or canopy covered in lights suspended above the bridge that crosses the hall. The whole surreal scene is described as "an instrument which performs a series of functions and constructs a series of situations."


Hyundai Commission 2016 Philippe Parreno: Anywhen 4 October 2016 – 2 April 2017. Installation view of Hyundai Commission 2016: Philippe Parreno, Anywhen 2016 Photo credit: Tate Photography.

The various lighting and speakers are fitted with sensors so that each is interconnected, the sound is affected by the changing light which is itself controlled by different sequences. There's also a screen, projector, and white "acoustic panels" intermixed, which move around, ascend or descend. These present themselves in different configurations, sometimes showing a film of underwater creatures or British stage ventriloquist Nina Conti. "Although there is something at work, we don't really know what is at work." Parreno told Reuters. The public are encouraged to lie on the carpeted floor and let it all wash over them. 

These events will evolve over the show's period in the space, too. "During the six months from October 2016 to April 2017, the sequence of events will continue to evolve into a pattern, informed by micro-organisms that will learn to react to and activate elements of the commission through a bio reactor designed by Jean-Baptiste Boulé and Nicolas Desprat," explains the press release. "Some other collaborators may also contribute to the evolving nature of the commission."


Hyundai Commission 2016 Philippe Parreno: Anywhen 4 October 2016 – 2 April 2017. Installation view of Hyundai Commission 2016: Philippe Parreno, Anywhen 2016 Photo credit: Tate Photography.


Hyundai Commission 2016 Philippe Parreno: Anywhen 4 October 2016 – 2 April 2017. Installation view of Hyundai Commission 2016: Philippe Parreno, Anywhen 2016 Photo credit: Tate Photography.

Philippe Parreno: Anywhen, the Hyundai Commission 2016, is on view from October 4, 2016 to April 2, 2017. Click here for more information. 

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