Monster Chetwynd lit up Tate Britain with giant slugs

Inspired by David Attenborough’s nature documentary, renowned British artist Monster Chetwynd today unveiled a pair of spectacular giant leopard slugs outside Tate Britain. These huge sculptures made of compostable materials are illuminated by LED rope lighting. The work is the latest in Tate Britain’s series of annual commissions to mark the winter season, and it will be on display place from 30 November 2018 to 25 February 2019.

Lighting up the gallery at the darkest time of year, Chetwynd’s work reflects her interest in alternative energy sources and the idea that we may one day use bioluminescence to light city streets. Each measuring over 10 metres long, sculptures revealed the mating rituals of leopard slugs. In order to reproduce, these slugs slither up a tree and dangle on a glittering thread of slime. The trails of LED lights are also reminiscent of other bioluminescent animal life, such as plankton in the ocean, as well as stars and galaxies in the winter sky. Through these otherworldly slugs and their hypnotic mating rituals, Chetwynd reminds us that the darkness of winter can be a time of renewal and rebirth.

Alex Farquharson, Director of Tate Britain, said: ‘I am delighted that Tate Britain’s iconic façade has once again been transformed, this time with a truly unique response from Monster Chetwynd. Monster’s commission is playful and anarchic, but also engages with the major environmental challenges we face today. I look forward to her giant leopard slugs lighting up the long winter nights in the months ahead.’

This year’s commission will be celebrated with host of festive activities at Tate Britain. On 15 December, the gallery will host a free Winter Fair featuring a pop-up market, performances from English National Opera and drop in tours, talks and workshops.

Winter Commission 2018: Monster Chetwynd has been curated by Aïcha Mehrez, Assistant Curator of Contemporary British Art at Tate Britain.

Monster Chetwynd lives and works in Glasgow and was previously known as Marvin Gaye Chetwynd and Spartacus Chetwnyd. She studied at the Slade School of Art and the Royal College of Art and was nominated for the Turner Prize in 2012.

Image: Tate. Matt Greenwood -Seraphina Neville

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