British-American musician and songwriter Celeste has joined forces with the Tate for a new music and art project, Tate Reframed by the Tate Collective. Running throughout June 2021, the exclusive video series ‘reframes’ the concept of art by blending iconic artworks with contemporary music by the most exciting emerging names in British music.
The Tate Reframed series launched on 3 June 2021 with an emotive performance video from Celeste, who was named the Rising Star accolade at the 2020 Brit Awards. For the project, she performed her single Not Your Muse to the fitting backdrop of a piece by surrealist artist Dalí.
For inspiration, Celeste chose Dalí’s much-loved landscape painting Metamorphosis of Narcissus (1937). “There were many reasons why I chose this piece,” she says of the painting, which makes a number of references to Dalí’s partner and muse Gala Dalí. “It has an abundance of visual stimuli all of which were very inspirational in the conjuring of the set design and bringing that together with the music, the performance and the clothing.”
“I also chose this painting because of a fascination that I had recently developed around the flower in the painting Poets Narcissus, a type of Daffodil that some of the classic literary giants such as Sylvia Plath have written about in their work. It’s meaning and representation allured me and I thought it would be a great focus for the set design,” she adds.
Celeste’s is the first of three films which will be unveiled throughout the month of June on the Tate’s website and YouTube channel. For the partnership, each music artist selected an iconic artwork from the Tate’s extensive collection and worked with UK-based creatives to produce and film a special performance of one of their songs inspired by the piece. The aim is to bring art to life in a previously untold way and prove that creativity has no limits, while shining a light on an industry that’s coming out of a particularly challenging year.
On 16 June, the series continues with a collaboration with London-born singer, rapper and songwriter Bree Runway, who was nominated for BBC Music’s Sound of 2021 and MOBO’s video of the year in 2020 and has collaborated with the likes of Missy Elliott. For her video, she takes inspiration from punk icon Linder and performs her single Hot Hot to the backdrop of a photomontage from the feminist photographer.
Tate Reframed comes to a close on 30 June with a collaboration with award-winning Deptford-based artist collective and music community Steam Down who will showcase a powerful group performance of Empower, inspired by Cameroonian photographer Samuel Fosso’s work African Spirits.
Throughout the series, the Tate collaborated with emerging UK-based creatives for the set design and costumes. Celeste’s set, for example, was designed by Jabez Bartlett, with styling from Ella Lucia, make-up from Rebecca Davenport and hair by James Catalano. “The dress I wore was designed and hand made by Sarah McCormack,” Celeste says. “I chose her as I thought the textures and layers in her garments would work very well alongside the smouldering and eternal landscapes by Dalí.”
Each music video will be accompanied by a behind-the-scenes glimpse into the making of the performance and an interview with the stars exploring their craft and why they were inspired by the artworks they selected.
To watch the videos, visit tate.org.uk/reframed or go to the Tate’s YouTube channel.