Visitors at Tate Modern bring participatory artworks by Rasheed Araeen to life

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Visitors at Tate Modern bring participatory artworks by Rasheed Araeen to life
UNIQLO Tate Play: Rasheed Araeen: Zero to Infinity at Tate Modern 2023. Photo © Tate (Lucy Green).

LONDON.- This summer, visitors to Tate Modern are invited to bring participatory artworks by Rasheed Araeen to life as part of UNIQLO Tate Play, Tate Modern’s free programme of art-inspired activities for families in partnership with UNIQLO. Staged in the iconic Turbine Hall, Araeen’s interactive Zero to Infinity offers families of all ages the chance to contribute to an ever-changing artwork, whilst outside the gallery Shamiyaana IV (Food for Thought: Thought for Change) encourages people to sit together and enjoy a free meal while chatting to one another.

First devised by Araeen in 1968, Zero to Infinity consists of brightly coloured lattice-construction cubes which are initially arranged in a minimalist grid. For its staging at Tate Modern, this dynamic work will begin with 400 cubes painted red, yellow, green and blue neatly laid out by the artist in the Turbine Hall. Visitors are invited to dismantle this symmetrical structure and create new configurations, initiating a process of play and transformation. Through this creative act of making and remaking, people will find themselves participating in a continuous performance of infinite possibilities. To complement Zero to Infinity, tables constructed with the same colourful cubes will be installed on the bridge in the Turbine Hall, offering a place for families to sit and engage with a range of activities inspired by Araeen’s practice and texts written by and about the artist.

From Saturday 12 August, Zero to Infinity will be joined by Shamiyaana IV (Food for Thought: Thought for Change), an installation by Araeen outside Tate Modern comprising four colourful gazebos with tables and chairs. Appearing as a café or restaurant at first sight, this public participatory artwork is based on the idea that art can be part of everyday life, such as cooking and eating food, playing, and reading. First created in Athens in 2017 as part of DOCUMENTA 14, Shamiyaana resulted in people from all walks of life sitting, eating and talking together. Despite being from different cultures and backgrounds, with several unable to speak the same language, participants found a way to tell their stories to one another. Visitors to Shamiyaana at Tate Modern will share free food with all those who have gathered there and be encouraged to discuss art and anything else they like.

Rasheed Araeen (b. 1935) is a London-based artist, activist, writer, editor and curator. Born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1935, he initially trained as a civil engineer before moving to the UK in 1964. Araeen is recognised as one of the pioneers of minimalist sculpture in Britain. Working in performance, photography, painting and sculpture, his work merges his interests in engineering, architecture and social engagement. Araeen organised the seminal 1989 exhibition The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain and his work has been exhibited widely and is represented in important collections across the world.

UNIQLO Tate Play was first launched in 2021, offering year-round activities that invite families to play together and get creative. Always taking inspiration from iconic works by major artists in Tate’s collection, highlights of the programme have included Ei Arakawa’s Mega Please Draw Freely, which encouraged visitors to draw all over the floor of the Turbine Hall, and Yayoi Kusama’s The obliteration room, which invited people to transform a white domestic apartment into a sea of colour. New projects are staged each school holiday, alongside free activities and creative materials during term time.

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