Anicka Yi: In Love with the World

The new commision for the Turbine Hall  In Love with the World by Anicka Yi (Seoul, 1971), opened today with an installation that offers a vision of a new ecosysten within the large post-industrial space at the heart of Tate Modern.

For this Hyundai Commission, Yi began with the question of what a “natural history of machines” could look and feel like, built on her previous work speculating on the possibilities of machines evolving into independent forms of life. Referencing the Turbine Hall’s original purpose of housing turbines of the former Bankside Power Station before the site was developed into a gallery, Yi populates the hall with machines once again, transforming the space with her vision of a new kind of ecosystem. Moving through the air, her floating machines –called aerobes– prompt viewers to think about new ways that machines might inhabit the world


Integral to Yi’s commission as well as her wider practice are scent and air. She is interested in the politics of air and how this is affected by changing attitudes, inequalities, and ecological awareness. She approaches scent as a medium for subtly shifting perceptions and giving presence to the air that we all share, and on which we depend.


For Tate Modern, the artist has created unique scentscapes that transition from one week to the next, evoking odors linked to a specific time in the history of Bankside. These scentscapes create an environment that connects the aerobes with the history of the site and all other organisms that share their habitat. As the odors change between each unique scentscape, the aerobes’ behavior and interactions will develop in response.

Artist Anicka Yi is interested in the links between art and science. Her practice explores the merging of technology and biology, breaking down distinctions between plants, animals, micro-organisms and machines. Through her work, Yi challenges the idea that humans are distinct from other forms of life by blurring these divisions between technology and biology. The artist’s studio collaborates with experts across many fields including philosophers, fabricators, engineers, microbiologists, and perfumers.


Yi was born in Seoul in 1971 and now lives and works in New York City. She has been the subject of solo exhibitions at museums including the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum in New York, Kunsthalle Basel, and the Fridericianum in Kassel. Her work featured in the Venice Biennale in 2019, the Whitney Biennial in 2017 and the Gwangju Biennale in 2016, as well as in many group exhibitions around the world. She won the Hugo Boss Prize in 2016 and has held residencies and fellowships at the Berggruen Institute in Los Angeles, the Headlands Center for the Arts, and the Center for Art Science and Technology at MIT.