Haunting image of motherhood … Louise Bourgeois’s Mamon. (Photograph: Ray Tang/Rex Features)

Since it began in 2000, the Unilever series of annual commissions in Tate Modern’s Turbine Hall has become the most significant long-term project instigated by any museum in the early 21st century. There are now similar installations in Paris and New York, and the series has developed its own cumulative energy. Let’s hope this is sustained through the current economic crisis.

Invitations to participate are increasingly daunting for artists. The Turbine Hall presents an enormous opportunity, but also a huge career risk. One doesn’t want overblown monstrosities, or for artists just to make grandiose versions of the kind of things they have done elsewhere. The space is too compromised for Richard Serra, for instance, who installed a great work in Paris’s Grand Palais in 2008.

What I’m always hungry for is artists who turn us back on ourselves, who provide an experience that refreshes the way we think. I want them not to perform according to type, but to queer the space and make us think about art and ourselves differently.

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Adrian Searle, Jonathan Jones, Charlotte Higgins and Skye Sherwin
Guardian

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