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Tate Modern ruffles feathers with animatronic sparrow

Sparrows may not be as ubiquitous in London as they once were, but you are guaranteed to see one if you pass by Tate Modern between now and 4 July.

Click here for a 30 second video of the animatronic sparrow (requires RealPlayer)

Untitled is a new series of contemporary displays dedicated to presenting recent or new work by international artists not widely exhibited in the UK. A new display space on Level 2 near the North Entrance – formerly a Tate shop – has been created specifically for the Untitled series. The series launched on 12 May, the fourth anniversary of the opening of Tate Modern, with the work of Michael Elmgreen and Ingar Dragset.

Each year the Untitled series will include six eight-week displays focusing on a particular theme or tendency in contemporary art practice. The first year's programme The Public World of the Private Space will consider the human condition in public and private environments, and in particular, the representation of space in these spheres. At the end of each year a publication will bring together the six displays in the programme.

The former shop has been converted into a display space by architects Herzog and De Meuron. The space, which includes a window on the north facade, can be seen by people passing by the building at all times of the day and – says Tate – will provide a focus for contemporary art even when the gallery is closed.

Sparrow Tate  Modern


The animatronic model of a sparrow in its death throes has been created by a pair of Scandinavian conceptual artists, Michael Elmgreen from Denmark and Ingar Dragset from Norway. They say that they aim to draw attention to the plight of the bird whose numbers have fallen by half in recent years. They claim that the ailing bird – captured between sheets of glass, upside down, its heart visibly pounding inside its tiny chest – mirrors the demise of working-class identity in Britain.

10 interpretations of a dead sparrow – BBC News magazine

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