The Redistribution of WealthIn the apt surroundings of Tate Britain's Historic Collection Room, The Redistribution of Wealth retells the history of UK government spending on the arts from the birth of the 'Council for the Encouragement of Music and the Arts' in 1940, right up to the present day climate of cutbacks. This work has been developed for the Tate by MFA graduate Ellie Harrison.
Three small stages (loosely inspired by Félix González-Torres's Untitled (Go-Go Dancing Platform) from 1991) will be installed in the gallery space. Representing England, Scotland and Wales respectively, the stages vary in scale to reflect the current total population of each of these constituent countries of Great Britain.
As a simple onscreen display scrolls methodically through the dates 1940 - 2012, the 'spotlight' illuminating each stage grows and shrinks in proportion to its country's annual Grant-in-Aid for the arts (as a percentage of total UK government spending), and changes colour to reflect the political party controlling this at the time.
A pattern of gradually increasing expenditure unfolds, until we reach the last six years. Tracking the formation and devolution of the different Arts Councils (and the impact of the National Lottery since 1994) as well as the shift of power to Scotland and Wales since 1999, The Redistribution of Wealth attempts to visualise the value that successive governments have chosen to place on Arts and Culture within society.
Accompanied by a special playlist of music surveying the same historical period created by artist Barby Asante, visitors are invited to use the gallery as a social space and to get up and dance on the three stages. Whilst under the spotlights you can observe and reflect on the fluctuations and discrepancies in this important history, without which today's art world would be a very different place.
Friday 5th October 2012
18.00 - 22.00
The Redistribution of Wealth forms part of the Acts of Legacy event curated by New Work Network for Late at Tate Britain and is presented alongside performances, film, music and discussion by Richard Layzell, Hunt & Darton, Barby Asante, Fiona Templeton, Jordan McKenzie & Aaron Williamson and The Saturday Arts Club.
Acts of Legacy is supported by Arts Council England, New Work Network, Tate Britain and Artquest