Nicole Wermers: Manners
Commission for Tate Britain
2013 - permanent
Press Release


Manners, 2013

A special commission for Tate Britain


Manners is the title of a commission produced for the newly refurbished cafe, Members Room and Rex Whistler Restaurant at Tate Britain by artist Nicole Wermers. Wermers has redesigned the smallest element of the flatware – the teaspoon – to be used alongside an otherwise regular cutlery in the manner of an endless edition. 


Manners, a "double-fronted spoon", is characterised by two 'bowls', one at either end of the handle. The bowls are subtly different in size and design and reflect the shape of spoon bowls over different periods of modernity. The double-fronted design adds a surreal element to the common character of a familiar tool, playing on alchemical and magical associations, which contrast with its modern design. 

20th Century art has a strong connection with cafes and the associated bohemian culture and its rituals. The spoon is at the center of that ritual, being the tool to mix together its ingredients. Manners is a conceptual and sculptural intervention within the transitional space of a cafe / restaurant, which play host to that intimate, everyday ritual of preparing and drinking tea and coffee.

The transformation of the oldest parts of Tate Britain by architects Caruso St John will combine striking new architectural elements and the revealing of beautiful original features throughout the building. With this in mind, Manners is a deliberately subtle intervention, which plays on the idea of "Kunst am Bau" ad absurdum and questions the nature of an artist commission in a museum's cafe. Manners is almost invisible upon entering the spaces and yet most diners will come into physical contact with the work.

Find Manners 2013 in the new Djanogly Cafe, Members Room and Rex Whistler Restaurant at Tate Britain from 19th November 2013.