A major new immersive exhibition by Heather Phillipson has been unveiled at Tate Britain ahead of its reopening.
Metallic creatures drinking from a pool of fuel, a giant papier-mache ram coated in newspaper and mountains of salt have been positioned throughout the grand Duveen Galleries at the London venue.
Phillipson has “reimagined the galleries as alive”, according to Tate, and a sensory experience is achieved through eerie sound effects, video displays and changing lights at the Rupture No 1: Blowtorching The Bitten Peach exhibition.
The artist, whose whipped cream and fly sculpture was displayed on the Fourth Plinth in London’s Trafalgar Square last year, told the PA news agency it was a “dream” project.
It was “such an amazing challenge” to be given the gallery space to work with, she said.
“I’m always really attracted to spaces that aren’t white cubes and this is the absolute dream commission in that respect,” Phillipson said.
“To be able to work at scale against this neoclassical architecture, you can’t put stuff in this space without it being in conversation with the building in a really direct way.”
The London-born artist added: “The interesting thing about this space specifically is it’s kind of a thoroughfare.
“It’s a really leaky space that leads off into loads of other galleries and it’s the space that people are going to go through on their way somewhere else and that lends it a really different quality.
“Some people might come to see it specifically but a lot of people will see it because they have come to see one of the other shows.”
People will “unexpectedly” stumble across it, she said.
The exhibition goes through three central galleries at Tate Britain and begins in a room where the eyes of different animals are displayed on television screens positioned on mounds of salt.
The next room contains a number of metal trailers positioned around a pool of fuel as if they were drinking from it, while the third contains metallic insects, gas canisters and a large projection of a peach.
Phillipson described the installation process as a “marathon”.
Tate Britain will reopen on Monday as coronavirus restrictions ease in England.
Social distancing measures will remain in place inside the gallery and visitors will be required to wear masks.
Rupture No 1: Blowtorching The Bitten Peach opens on Monday and will be on display until January 23 2022.