1 December 2012

A quick dip in the Tate Modern

Despite my disappointment at Tate Britain a couple of days earlier I took the opportunity of going to the theatre in Southwark to pop in to the Tate Modern.

There was a time, a couple of years ago, when I was working about 500m away and was able to go there many times for my lunchtime break. I've since changed projects and the Tate Modern is now well beyond my normal reach so a chance to revisit was most welcome.

As expected, there has been some change since I was last there. The most significant being the opening of more gallery space in The Tanks. This is off the Turbine Hall on the lower level and is a series of brutal concrete caverns. It's all rather lovely.

In one, projectors played patterns on the walls at each end while the viewers were encouraged to walk between them to make shadows on the walls. The first photo is a (very rare) self portrait.

The main space in The Tanks was given over to a number of short films that were played on loops; this is just two of them. The space works brilliantly with the rough concrete making an ideal screen for the films. I spent quite a bit of time in there.

Venturing in to the main part of Tate Modern I headed up to the fourth floor and the Structure and Clarity.

This was a fairly random choice based mostly on it being one of the free exhibitions and the posters suggested some architectural objects. And that proved to be true.

There were several geometric paintings, Miro probably being the most famous artist on show, and I especially liked this large painting by Henri Matisse. It's called The Snail and while I can see that it is the abstract shapes and colours that I like.

But I also like pictures with less colour.

In the same room is a large grey canvass that is called, simply, Grey (Gerhard Richter). And that's all it is. Grey.

There is also this vaguely black painting by Ad Reinhardt.It looks pretty black here but it actually has a three by three grid of slight variations. Those variations make you stare at the painting to find them and then study them. It looks simple but I love it.

There was a lot more to the exhibition than paintings and I struggled a little to pick just two works to give a true flavour of the exhibition.

I liked the photographs by Geraldo de Barros because they were of things that I take photos of, things like roofs, doors and derelict buildings. I preferred them displayed individually though this montage has a certain impact.

Bricks at the Tate have almost become synonymous with modern art and there a couple of exhibits made from them.

The set of plain bricks set as a rectangular pile had some interest but with only one picture to include here I have gone for the more complex columns by Lebanese sculptor ShSaloua Raouda Choucair that she named Infinite Structure.

I also liked her short stack of unusually shaped metal blocks Poem of Nine Verses.

I have tried in just a few photos to show the range of things on show and to give some idea of their variety and why they sparked something within me.

And the news gets better. Tate Modern is a large and exciting gallery which is about to get larger and more exciting. The thirties power station is growing a twisted tower that will roughly double the size of the complex. With the depressing news of arts being cut across the country it is good to hear that they are striving at the Tate Modern.

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