Entertainment & Arts

Artist Monster Chetwynd's giant slugs 'slime' Tate Britain

Image copyright Tate
Image caption Tate Britain's outsized molluscs were unveiled on Friday

It's Christmas slime - but there's no need to be afraid of Tate Britain's sluggish festive commission.

After all, nothing says Yuletide like two giant illuminated leopard slugs outside a major London gallery.

Measuring more than 10m (33ft), the mighty molluscs will remain in situ until 25 February.

Monster Chetwynd's gastropod-inspired artwork also includes swathes of blue and white LED slug trails across the facade of the building.

Image copyright Tate
Image caption The slugs reflect Chetwynd's interest in alternative energy sources

Born Alalia Chetwynd in 1973, the Turner Prize-nominated artist has since adopted more colourful sobriquets - among them Spartacus Chetwynd and Marvin Gaye Chetwynd.

For her latest work, the British artist took inspiration from Sir David Attenborough's 2005 nature series Life in the Undergrowth.

The Tate said the piece also reflected "her interest in alternative energy sources and the idea that we may one day use bioluminescence to light city streets".

Image copyright Tate
Image caption The artist (pictured left with her son) was also inspired by a David Attenborough documentary

The Tate admitted that Chetwynd's creations - made of compostable materials and illuminated by LED rope lighting - "may appear irreverent and somewhat perplexing".

Yet it said the artist "uses them to raise serious ecological concerns, as well as to show that even supposedly repulsive creatures can be transformed into something wondrous".

Tate Britain director Alex Farquharson said: "Monster's commission is playful and anarchic but also engages with the major environmental challenges we face today."

Last year's winter commission saw artist Alan Kane festoon the gallery's exterior with festive decorations.

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