By Mark Westall
First devised by Araeen in 1968, Zero to Infinity consists of lattice-construction cubes which are initially arranged in a minimalist grid. For its staging at Tate Modern, this dynamic work will begin with 400 cubes painted red, yellow, green and blue neatly laid out by the artist in the Turbine Hall. Audiences are invited to dismantle this symmetrical structure and then rearrange its components, initiating a process of play and transformation. Through this creative act of making and remaking, people will participate in a continuous performance of infinite possibilities.
Alongside the performance of Zero to Infinity in the Turbine Hall will be Shamiyaana IV (Food for Thought: Thought for Change), an installation by Araeen outside Tate Modern comprising four colourful gazebos with tables and chairs inside. At first sight, this may appear to be a café or restaurant, but is in fact a public participatory artwork based on the idea that art can be part of everyday life, such as cooking and eating food, playing, and reading. Visitors to Shamiyaana will share free food with all those who have gathered there and be encouraged to chat to one another about art and anything else they like.
The first version of Shamiyaana was created in Athens in 2017 as part of DOCUMENTA 14, attracting people from all over the world. They would sit at the table amongst local people from all walks of life, eating together and talking to each other. Despite being from different cultures and backgrounds, with several unable to speak the same language, participants found a way to tell their stories to one another. Zero to Infinity and Shamiyaana build a sense of togetherness between different people by engaging them in collective creative acts.
Rasheed Araeen (b. 1935) is a London-based artist, activist, writer, editor and curator. Born in Karachi, Pakistan in 1935, he initially trained as a civil engineer before moving to the UK in 1964. Araeen is recognised as one of the pioneers of minimalist sculpture in Britain. Working in performance, photography, painting, and sculpture, his work merges his interests in engineering, architecture and social engagement. Araeen organised the seminal 1989 exhibition, The Other Story: Afro-Asian Artists in Post-War Britain and his work has been exhibited widely and is represented in important collections across the world.
UNIQLO Tate Play was first launched in 2021, offering year-round activities that invite families to play together and get creative. Always taking inspiration from iconic works by major artists in Tate’s collection, highlights of the programme have included Ei Arakawa’s Mega Please Draw Freely, which encouraged visitors to draw all over the floor of the Turbine Hall, and Yayoi Kusama’s The obliteration room, which invited audiences to transform a white domestic apartment into a sea of colour using colourful dot stickers. New projects are staged each school holiday, alongside free activities and creative materials during term time.