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Mary McCartney: Moment of Affection

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Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
Sustainability

New Sculpture by Es Devlin Slated for the Tate Modern Sings of Species Conservation 

By Erica Silverman

July 28, 2022

Come Home Again, an illuminated choral sculpture, created by artist Es Devlin, will be installed outside Tate Modern and on view from September 16-25. The large-scale public artwork, commissioned by Cartier, highlights the 243 species on London’s priority conservation list—including moths, birds, beetles, wildflowers, fish and fungi. With the majestic piece, Devlin proposes that a first step towards protecting the biosphere is to pay detailed attention to its inhabitants: to observe and draw them, to learn their names, and remember their stories. Audiences are invited to engage with London Wildlife Trust, with London’s priority species identified by the London Biodiversity Action Plan as declining in numbers within the city and as priorities for active conservation and protection. 

“A dome originally meant a home. The work invites us to see, hear, and feel our home, our city as an interconnected web of species and cultures, to learn and remember the names and sing those under threat into continued existence, said Devlin. “The work echoes the invitation invoked by the 92-year-old climate activist Joanna Macy, ‘Now it can dawn on us: we are the world knowing itself. As we relinquish our isolation, we come home again...we come home to our mutual belonging.”

Open Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.

The artist is known for creating large-scale installations and stage sculptures that combine light, music and language in order to elicit emotional response and perspective shift in the minds of her audience. The Imperial War Museum commission, I Saw the World End (2020) invited viewers to engage simultaneously with opposing perspectives, while the monumental 360 degree sculpture Memory Palace (2019) mapped shifts in human perspective over 73 millennia as a reminder that we have achieved profound alterations in our behavior and mindset in the past, and we can do so once again in response to the threat of extinction.

Come Home Again is another tour de force. On each evening throughout the exhibition an interpretation of Choral Evensong, the traditional church service, will be sung within the sculpture—a detailed scale model of the dome of St Paul’s—by London-based choral groups. The performance will team with Devlin’s pencil drawings of each of the 243 species, illuminated with a dynamic projection. During the day, visitors are encouraged to sit within the choral tiers of the structure. They will find themselves immersed in the drawings and surrounded by a soundscape of the songs and names of each of these non-human Londoners. In place of hymn books, QR codes will guide visitors to information and stories about each of the species. 

Mathew Frith, Director of Policy & Research at London Wildlife Trust said, “The survival of our city’s wildlife is now at a tipping point—after decades of dramatic decline in many species, the window of possibility to halt, and reverse this decline is rapidly closing. Doing so depends not only upon the transformation of our everyday practices, the way we manage London’s green spaces, climate adaptive technologies and behaviors, but also upon securing a future for our wildlife in the city’s imagination. London Wildlife Trust is delighted to work with artist Es Devlin and Cartier to support Come Home Again, an important exploration of the role of art in the protection of London’s species and nature’s recovery across and beyond the city.”

Open Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.

Open Gallery

Courtesy of the artist and Tate Modern.
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