“It’s a pretty terrifying picture to look at, the stark monochrome and the heavy intimidating concrete frame,” says Daughter’s ethereal front woman Elena Tonra of “Azeville,” the haunting image by British artists Jane and Louise Wilson. The staunch Nazi battery forms the backdrop to today’s intimate live performance at the Tate Britain in London. Tonra and Swiss-born guitarist Igor Haefeli (not featured is the band’s French drummer Remi Aguilella) play a late-night recital within Ruin Lust, the Tate’s current exhibition that maps four centuries of art’s infatuation with the abandoned and the decaying. Featuring here alongside the zine-maker and artist Laura Oldfield Ford’s sketches of urban-realist degradation, the severe image of a French bunker inspired the raw rendition of “Smother,” taken from their debut album on 4AD, If You Leave. “We felt that the song shares this idea of decay,” says Tonra. “Whether it is an abandoned man-made structure or a human body, everything will eventually be accepted back into the earth, however cold and brutal it once was.”
Ruin Lust runs through May 18 at Tate Britain, London. Tickets are available here.