Tate Britain Commission: Heather Phillipson RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach

For this year’s annual Tate Britain Commission, we were asked to install an exciting new commission in the grand spaces of the Duveen Galleries at the heart of the building. The 2020 exhibition has been created British artist Heather Phillipson, entitled RUPTURE NO 1: blowtorching the bitten peach, this will coincide with THE END, her 2020 commission for the Fourth Plinth in Trafalgar Square, on view until spring 2022.


In the South Duveens is a striking opening to the installation using twenty portrait mounted LED TV screens rising out of piles of salt and sand and twenty matching speakers suspended from the ceiling. Towering over this section of the installation is an enormous thirteen metre high paper mache Ram with hypnotic eyes. To achieve this stunning effect, ArtAV supplied and installed twenty 43” LG commercial displays, along with the complex power distribution and cable management needed. The screens are mounted on rotating portrait brackets allowing them to sit at a range of different angles to achieve the artist's vision. In addition, we also provided a custom playback solution for every display.

Yamaha HS8i speakers with their black surrounds and contrasting white speaker cones were suspended on custom mounting plates from a grid installed in the roof by the team at Unusual Rigging (www.unusual.co.uk). Audio in the space is controlled from Cymatic uTrack24 players, giving hardware-based multitrack playback with network control of audio levels, this allows for fine tuning of volume levels of each individual speaker.

To finish this section of the installation, we installed a pair of Panasonic 43’’ commercial displays at over 9m high. These displays became the hypnotic eyes of the 13m paper mache Ram. Video playback for these displays was a pair of syncronised and networked BrightSign players, providing content in perfect sync while allowing for any required updating of the films remotely from ground level.

In the Octagon between the North and South Duveen suspended 10m in the air is one of our Epson 15,000 lumens laser projectors on a custom mount; this is a projector pointing straight down to items on the floor This projector provides all the brightness and control needed for this element of the exhibit with fine tuning of position, zoom, focus and warping all controllable from ground level.

The speakers we used in this space were smaller Yamaha HS7i speakers. This smaller size was needed as the speakers appear to be caught in nets above the space. Again, using custom suspension mounts ArtAV were able to accurately suspend and tilt the speakers to ensure they sat perfectly in these nets while being safely suspended.

The North Duveens is dominated by large projections and sculptural elements. ArtAV worked with the team at Tate Britain and the artist to deliver this vision. Using four of our Epson Professional series projectors in two flown stacks the walls of the North Duveens have massive projections.

To complete our work in this section we provided a 7m custom-made portrait front projection screen. This screen sits on the floor and extends up into the space. Projection on the screen is handled by a single portrait mounted Epson professional projector in a flying frame but in this case mounted to a shelf with anti vibration mounts. As the projector was mounted to the rear of a massive deconstructed Silo that has been transformed into a vibrating sculptural piece the anti vibration mounts were needed to ensure the image stays perfectly on the screen.


We also had to integrate control and video playback of all of the elements in the installation. Powering on and off the installation needed to be as simple and reliable as possible. In addition to this the audio needed to be tied into the Tate’s fire alarm system so that if the fire alarms were triggered the audio would be automatically cut out. To achieve this we built a custom control system that used remote power controls. This meant that should the fire alarm be triggered in the control area of the installation, remote power switches would trigger cutting audio across the installation. When the alarm was over this would also return power to audio playback at the far reaches of the installation. This saved time and money over running 100’s of meters of power cable to achieve the same results.

This incredible exhibition is free to visit and runs from 23 March 2021 – 23 January 2022. ArtAV are proud to have played a part in making this vision a reality and would highly recommend a visit to see it for yourself.


Tate Britain Commission: Heather Phillipson: Rupture No.1: blowtorching the bitten peach 
© Tate photography (Oliver Cowling)

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