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Tate Modern opens Sunflower Seeds installation

12th October 2010

This year's commission for the Unilever Series was unveiled by Tate Modern yesterday (October 11th).

Sunflower Seeds by Chinese artist Ai Weiwei is a sensory and immersive installation that occupies the Tate's Turbine Hall and is made up of more than 100 million handmade porcelain sunflower seed replicas.

The sculptural piece is designed to raise questions on issues such as the need for collective action and the relationship between the individual and modern society.

Tate Modern chief curator Sheena Wagstaff commented: 'In trying to comprehend their sheer quantity, Ai provokes a multitude of ideas, from the way we perceive number and value, to the way we engage with society at large.'

Ai also revealed he associates sunflower seeds with the Chinese Cultural Revolution of 1966 to 1976, seeing the sharing of the common street snack as a gesture of compassion in a time of repression.

The Unilever Series of annual commissions was established in 2000 and attempts to find innovative sculpture for the Turbine Hall.

Miroslaw Balka filled the commission last year with How It Is, an 'arresting' steel chamber that was inspired by Samuel Beckett's novel of the same name.
 

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