Tate Britain announces complete rehang of free collection displays

Image: Tate Britain (Tate Britain)

Opening in May, its first rehang in 10 years is hoped to ‘diversify British art history’

Tate Britain is to open a complete rehang of its free collection displays this May, it has announced.

Work on the rehang is now underway, which will see over 800 works by over 350 artists displayed, and will include brand new commissions.

Works to be hung include John Everett Millais’ Ophelia and William Hogarth’s The Painter and his Pug, David Hockney’s A Bigger Splash, Barbara Hepworth’s Pelagos and Chris Ofili’s No Woman, No Cry.

Also to be displayed is a career-spanning display of over 100 works by JMW Turner, as well as rooms devoted to key figures in art history like William Blake, John Constable, the Pre-Raphaelites and Henry Moore, and a series of regularly changing solo displays of artists including Annie Swynnerton, Richard Hamilton, Aubrey Williams and Zineb Sedira.

The rehang marks the first time in ten years that the national collection is presented anew. The gallery said the work is being carried out to “reflect the ongoing transformation of Tate’s collection”.

It will put on display over 200 works which were acquired after 2000, 70 of which entered the collection in the past five years.

There will also be works by young artists who are joining the national collection for the first time, such as a kaleidoscopic canvas by Rachel Jones (b.1991) and a series of photographs capturing 21st century British life by non-binary artist Rene Matić (b.1997).

The gallery said that women artists will be better represented, making up half the contemporary artists on display, while a showcase of historic women artists from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries is to be featured, many of whom have never been shown at Tate before.

Polly Staple, Tate’s Director of Collection, British Art, said the new displays “will embody [the gallery’s] commitment to expanding the canon and diversifying British art history.

“In recent years we have brought so many incredible works into Tate’s collection and visitors will soon be able to see these new acquisitions hung alongside more familiar and much-loved classics.”

A number of complex large-scale works made from unusual materials are in the process of being installed, from the eight tonnes of rice and two thousand flowers that respectively comprise Vong Phaophanit’s Neon Rice Field and Anya Gallaccio’s Preserve ‘beauty’, to the glass and steel sculptures embedded with UV lights in Hamad Butt’s Transmission, which will be shown at Tate for the first time.

Contemporary artists are to create and install works beyond the gallery spaces, in celebration of the rehang, including two climbable concrete sculptures by Sarah Lucas on the front lawn and a site-specific ceiling painting by France-Lise McGurn in the Djanogly Café.

Andrea Schlieker, Director of Exhibitions and Displays, Tate Britain, said: “This will be a wonderful moment for Tate Britain and a great chance for us to showcase British artistic talent. Working with innovative contemporary artists, we can offer a new lens through which to see the art of the past and provide inspiration to future generations.”