Tate fund buys works by international Modernists at Frieze

Photographs, paintings and mixed-media works by living artists from around the world will be added to Tate collection

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Works by Sung Tieu at the Emalin gallery stand of Frieze London Photo: Theo Christelis

Works by Sung Tieu at the Emalin gallery stand of Frieze London Photo: Theo Christelis

The Tate Gallery Frieze Fund, supported for the sixth year by Endeavor, allows a team of Tate and international curators a budget of £150,000 to buy works for the museum’s collection. This year the Tate team was joined by guest curator Hammad Nasar, and Grada Kilomba from Portugal, whose own work was acquired through the fund in 2020. “We were looking to support living artists, especially those who are not already represented in the collection, and also to build the backstory of transnational Modernism,” says Catherine Wood, Tate’s senior curator of international art (performance).

To this end, the fund has bought four works from the 1970s and early 80s by the Nigerian Modernist painter Obiora Udechukwu from Kó Gallery. These are accompanied by a painting by London-based Swedish artist Mike Silva from The Approach; 15 photographs by London-based Rene Matić from Arcadia Missa; and two mixed media works by 2021 Frieze Artist Award winner Sung Tieu from Emalin gallery.

According to Wood, Kilomba was especially keen to use the fund “to bring in artists that aren’t necessarily coming in [to the collection] by other routes”. The most notable example of this is a work by Guatemalan Edgar Calel consisting of natural stones and fruit. “The work belongs to the earth and to the community—we are the custodians, not the owners,” Wood says. “It’s been very important in helping us to think about the collecting we have done of First Nations and Indigenous Practice.”

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