News today that visitors to the new Ai WeiWei Turbine Hall installation at the Tate Modern are being prevented from walking on the ceramic seeds, as the artist intended:
“Although porcelain is very robust, the enthusiastic interaction of visitors has resulted in a greater than expected level of dust in the Turbine Hall. Tate has been advised that this dust could be damaging to health following repeated inhalation over a long period of time. In consequence, Tate, in consultation with the artist, has decided not to allow visitors to walk across the sculpture.”
The work is intended to be interactive and to have people walking through it, although some visitors, mainly children, had more fun in the seeds than curators might have liked.
I’m interested in the idea of artworks that you can’t predict: although Ai Weiwei conceived the artwork as interactive, it’s not until 100 million ceramic seeds are being shuffled through by gallery visitors that the true size of the dust-cloud is revealed. That’s art in itself.
Also, health and safety has played a role in visitor interactions with installations at the Tate Modern before….