“We always thought the Tate looked like a strange space ship. We envisioned the Turbine Hall like the ideal setting for that great scene in Star Wars when you see all the smaller ships lined upinside the Death Star. During No Soul For Sale, Tate Modern will serve as a mother ship for all the non-profit-organisations and informal institutions that represent the place where art happens every day—beyond the museum.
It’s like that famous scene in Gulliver’s Travels, when he is tied down by the Lilliputians. No Soul for Sale is the revenge of the Lilliputians.
When we first organised No Soul For Sale in New York, we had nearly 40 participants. Now thereare more than 70 groups and non-profit spaces taking part. The performance programme is also more varied, and in London we are so lucky to be able to count on great musicians playing for free. Strangely, instead of becoming more institutional, within Tate Modern the festival has become even more informal and participatory. There are so many projects, activities, events, concerts and performances about which we almost know nothing: it’s really a spontaneous gathering of people who love and support art in unusual and generous ways.
No Soul for Sale is by definition inclusive. This doesn’t mean any space can take part: we only invited those we thought contribute to creating new spaces and new means of presenting and distributing art. It’s important for all participants to operate outside the market or in a complicated, occasionally conflicting, relationship against it. You could say that the premise of No Soul For Sale is excessively romantic, but in fact what it reminds us that idealism and romanticism are, after all, a form of realism, now more necessary than ever.
The festival is a special occasion for the various participants to exchange ideas, getting to know other artists and programs, and to present themselves to a larger public. But it’s also a way to remind ourselves, the public and institutions that it is thanks to thework of these enterprises that art is produced, presented and distributed. A large part of the public out there thinks that art is something that magically appears in museums: No Soul For Sale is also a way to give credit and space to the places that make art happen, everyday, beyond any reasonable limit.
It’s a temporary, spontaneous community, a popup village, so—unfortunately—it can only last for a few days. As any carnival, it is more powerful when it is intense and takes things by storm.”No Soul For Sale, Tate Modern, London, 14-16 May