Abracadabra brings together an international selection of fifteen contemporary artists who represent a particular spirit in art at this millennium’s end. This spirit is one of optimism and play, of fantasy and imagination, even of magic, as the title suggests. Although none of the artists in this exhibition presents a heavy handed social agenda, this dimension is explicit in some and implicit in others. Another crucial characteristic which these artists share is that they address the real world and everyday life, and their art is therefore further distinguished by its combination of the real and the imaginative. This makes the work highly approachable and engaging, in a number of instances literally so, where the artist invites the visitor to participate directly. The artists of Abracadabra share contemporary art’s extremely open and eclectic attitude to materials and techniques, inherited from Marcel Duchamp, Dada, Surrealism and Pop Art. Works here range from video installations to assemblages of real objects, environmental constructions, lifesize realistic sculptures, tableaux of stuffed animals, real clothing, printed pages presented on a huge scale, a bizarre board game, pictures made of chocolate and carnival debris, and a functioning bar football table for two full teams of players. Not the least unusual aspect of Abracadabra is its physical installation. Working closely with both the curators and the artists, the architect Nick Coombe has unprecedentedly opened up the Tate’s exhibition galleries into a dramatic continuous space. The design creates a stimulating, surprising and convivial environment where the visitor is invited to make discoveries and share the imaginary worlds of the artists. Even the catalogue of Abracadabra is different. Centring on images, it captures the immediacy of the work through the same use of invention, surprise and provocation, and concludes with a highly amusing contribution by Matthew Higgs in which he evokes, in lists of books and films and in an index transposed from another publication, a parallel to the exhibition.