Tate Modern Gallery | London City Tour (1/5)
Art can hold up a mirror to contemporary life, raise awareness about urgent issues or argue for change as the artworks in Tate Modern demonstrates
The gallery is a stone-throw from the St. Paul's Cathedral in central London. My cousin and I took a nice walk on the Pedestrian bridge called Millennium bridge to access attractions on the South Bank where the gallery is located.
The Bridge is elegant and offers a beautiful view of St Paul's Cathedral on one end and Tate Modern on the other. Harry potter fans will recognize it! :). As we walked by, we noticed a number of street performers including musicians and magicians. It was quite interesting to watch and interact.
Eventually, we arrived at Tate Modern. By way of information, the gallery is Britain's national gallery of international modern art and forms part of the Tate group globally. It was incredibly huge with large spaces for each art display.
We saw art displays from a number of artists including Louise Bourgeois, Joseph Beuy, Marwan Rechmaoui Victor Pasmore amongst others.
The first wow experience was Jane Alexander's work which was a combination humans and animals, mixing recognisable and familiar elements. Jane used this to address different histories of European engagement with Africa (1999 - 2002). Jane rose to prominence at the end of the apartheid era as South Africa was opening up following Nelson Mandela's release from prison and the first democratic elections.
We proceeded to listen and watch a documentary by Gulsun Karamustafa (1930 - 1980). Gulsun is a visual artist and filmmaker and recognised as one of Turkey's most outspoken and celebrated artists.
In this video, Gulsun used personal and historical narratives to explore socio-political issues in modern Turkey. The footage was centred around Istanbul Taksim Square which was the setting for many key episodes in modern Turkish history alongside families affected by the events of displacement-migration. Quite terrifying!.
In the picture below, Lorna Simpson tried to represent the black female and the white shift shown by the garments worn by the Africa America slaves. It reflects their anonymity and the failure of history to record their individual lives and voices.
Lorna Simpson belongs to a generation of American artist whose work emphasises question race, gender and sexuality and the system of discrimination that exist in the society.
Marwan Rechmaoui depicts the monument of the living below. This sculpture is the exact replica/ scale model of Burj El Murr tower in Beirut.
"Started a little before the beginning of the Lebanese civil war, the construction of this thirty-four floors building with seven basement floors and five hundred and ten windows has remained unfinished since 1975. During the conflict which stirred the Lebanese capital, this building that was originally meant to host a shopping mall and offices became a war building. Its strategic position with access to the city centre, together with its height, constitutes an undeniable asset for the armed militia who decided to occupy it. They used the upper floors as a shooting zone and the basement as a prison to keep hostages.
Although most of Beirut city centre was destroyed during the war or razed to the ground during post-war rebuilding, Burj Al Murr still dominates the city. Ten years after the cease fire, structural dysfunctions have been found in the reinforced concrete tower. It is thus impossible for the building to be converted, neither is it eligible for a demolition program. Located outside the building sites managed by the Solidere company (in charge of rebuilding the city centre), the unfinished tower remains indestructible. From this terrible memorial of war which reminds the inhabitants of Beirut of the horror of the confrontations, Marwan Rechmaoui has created a monumental work highlighting the persistence of this sad vestige within the urban development of the Lebanese capital". Nadour
We bombed into the below illustration, Babel, by Cildo Merieles. The work takes the form of a tower constructed from 800 radios, each one tuned to a different channel and set at the minimum audible volume.
According to Tate's...
Cildo' work relates to the biblical story of the Tower of Babel: a tower tall enough to reach the heavens. Affronted by this structure, God caused the builders to speak in different languages and, ceasing to understand one another, become divided and scattered across the earth. According to myth, this inability to communicate became the cause of all mankind’s conflicts
Kader Attia shows the ancient couscous city of Ghardaia, the Algerian city. He tried to showcase the influence of the East on the West, troubling the logic of colonial influence in which the coloniser dominates and degrades a native culture and civilisation.
Anish Kapoor installation below called Ishi's light, depicts reflection and purity. "Kapoor’s use of a reflective, encompassing interior surface for Ishi’s light evokes the wider use of mirrors that became a major characteristic of his work from the mid 1990s". Tate
Joseph Beuy's "Lightning with Stag in its Glare" work is impressive. His work depicts a huge mound of clay surrounded by sculptures.
Bakelite Robot by Nam June Paik. This is a smaller than life-size sculpture of a robot constructed from nine vintage Bakelite radios.
I walked through this unbelievable art room by Louise Bourgeois. Louise Bourgeois created the first of her darkly compelling spider sculptures in the mid-1990s, when she was in her eighties. Wow! Wow! Talk of focus.
The artist saw spiders as both fierce and fragile, capable of being protectors as well as predators. For Bourgeois, the spider embodied an intricate and sometimes contradictory mix of psychological and biographical allusions.
The artist perception of spiders is that they are elegant and fearsome creatures. They are also cleverness, industriousness, and protectiveness.
Final thoughts on Tate Modern Gallery
Tate Modern is a must visit in London. It was a wonderful experience, anyway, I'm a proponent for travelling and learning, so no surprise. The gallery covers art works from different artists, cutting across different centuries.
Thank you for sticking till the end :). I know art can be boring but once you understand the essence, you will be captivated and hungry for more.
Share with us your thoughts in the comment section. Is art gallery hopping something you would love to do on a vacation or when an opportunity presents itself? Ever heard of Tate Modern before or visited any of the galleries globally. We would love to hear from you.
Till my next post, let's be kind to one another!.