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Tate Exchange: Come Together

Written by Teleri Lloyd-Jones
Published date 22 January 2019

Last week, students and members of staff from the Art programme took over Tate Exchange for Come Together: Art and Politics in the Climate of Unrest.

The third annual instalment of our Tate Exchange contribution explored how art is necessarily caught up in contemporary politics. As with all Tate Exchange collaborations, the public were at the centre, with over a thousand visitors each day over the weekend joining forces with us to consider how we might tackle our current state of affairs. The creative chaos stretched from banners and voting stations to inflatable pandas and ‘magic’ carpet rides; work took in Bolsonaro, Brexit, race, gender and fake news. And, of course, there was a complaints department.

Speaking in the midst of the action, Tate Exchange’s Jane Wells said:

“The students are working in three different zones, they are talking together, working together and playing together – bringing projects that think about the world outside and how that can be worked out through art… what makes Tate Exchange different to the work in the rest of the building is that we ask our visitors to share with us their stories and the way they live in the world. What you see here is not a finished product, it is not a finished form but is evolving, experimental. We’re constantly asking our visitors what they think; art allows for discourse, storytelling and for many more voices to be heard.”

Central Saint Martins’ presence at Tate Exchange has consistently presented the art school up-turned and inside-out. Its first iteration saw students create an art school complete with enrolment and timetable while 2018’s outing explored the meaning of the studio and the future of London’s cultural life. This year completes the trio taking a political perspective, highlighting how artists have always responded to the climate in which they exist.