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Tate Modern (London)
Member Name: Parsley
Tate Modern (London)
Date: 05/09/00, updated on 02/02/01 (221 review reads)
Advantages: Fantastic building, great exhibitions, parent & baby friendly, easy to get round, free entry
It isn’t just impressive from the outside, the inside is beautiful too. You feel very small next to the huge brontosaurus as you approach it and you are very aware of it’s enormous size. The entrance hall sweeps you downwards on a slope, like a huge chasm swallowing you up. It takes you into the old turbine hall where the feeling of space is unbelievable. It was very odd thinking that people used to work here and I bet they would have laughed if someone had told them that it would become an art gallery. The interior was well designed and beautifully laid out. One lovely feature was the small roof terrace where you can have a look out across the Thames as the view is excellent, but don't look down if you don’t like heights as it’s an awful long way down (you have been warned!)
Whoever planned the facilities had thought of everything. There was a bank of large lifts which meant that getting about the museum with a pushchair was no problem at all. The other thing that impressed me was the provision of a parents room on the ground floor which had changing facilities and chairs for breastfeeding. Top marks to the person who included it! <
I visited the Tate Modern with my sister when my son was 12 weeks old. I thoroughly enjoy modern art and my sister has an art degree. Every time she visits we tour the exhibitions, normally planning a route and travelling all over London going to little galleries. We normally have to travel great distances see anything like an appreciable amount of Modern Art. However, this time it was brilliant to find such a huge quantity of Modern Art all in one place.
Many people write off Modern Art, saying "it’s all rubbish" which is really sad and often they don’t even give it a good chance. There is usually a lot to be gained by understanding what the artist is actually trying to say through a piece and not all modern art is the same either. Just because you may have seen or heard of something that is particularly controversial, it doesn’t mean that all Modern Art is all worthy of being written off.
What is art anyway? Most people’s concept of art is probably paintings, but this is only one form. Modern Art incorporates a wide range of both materials and experiences. You get paintings, sculptures, films etc. but my favourite has to be the "installation". What compromises an art "installation" is very hard to define as it can be of anything, but an installation to me is a 3D piece that is in some way interactive, very often you can become part of that piece and it envelopes and changes your perception of the world for a time. You may wonder what I am on about here, so for example I will take a piece - I forget the artist and the name of it, but it’s vivid image is still with me. I entered a dimly lit room, lit by a single bulb - the bulb is at the centre of an installation, lots and lots of items of debris are suspended from the ceiling on wire. Every item suspended is different, there are lots and lots of wires suspending lots and lots of debris. There are layer
s and layers of debris both higher and lower and round the bulb. The bulb lights the room up eerily casting odd shadows on the walls and as you stare into the installation and see the bulb suspended in the middle - you feel like the artist has captured the epicentre of an explosion with bits flying everywhere and for a split moment your perception of the world changes.
Another interesting installation I also saw at the Tate modern was another darkened room, pitch black in fact, but for red and green lights emitted from lots and lots of electronic counters on all the surrounding walls. The counters spin frantically and the numbers go up and up. All the numbers are huge and they differ from counter to counter. You stand there in the room surrounded by glowing, fast changing red and green numbers, you feel oddly detached and unsettled, suspended for a moment in space and time, you feel part of a sci-fi movie but unsure of your role or part in it. The installation changed my perception of reality while I was in the middle of it and for a moment I was suspended and wondered where I was in this small sci-fi world full of changing numbers.
I hope this goes some way to explain what I mean. It’s very hard - you have to see, interact and try to understand it. If you can grasp the concept and appreciate the statements that the artists are trying to make, then you will be a step closer to understanding Modern Art.
Art doesn’t have to be boring and Modern Art is the most vibrant and interesting form - constantly changing with new ideas, you never know what you will see next. Admittedly modern art isn’t for everyone, but everyone should give it a good chance, you may even be pleasantly surprised. The Tate Modern is a great place to give it a good go as there is such a wide variety of different and interesting pieces to see. Try to understand what an artist is saying through their work. Admittedly there are some pieces I have seen elsewhere that I do
not understand and I do not appreciate and on occasion may even disagree with the use of a particular subject, but it doesn’t mean that it is invalid as art.
While I was at the Tate Modern, I saw all the free exhibits and I paid £3 to see "Between Cinema And A Hard Place", this was a special exhibition on one of the floors. Some of the exhibits I had seen before elsewhere, but there were also plenty of new items that I hadn’t seen. It was definitely worth the entry fee. One of my favourite exhibits was a film shown in a darkened room consisting of three film sequences running side by side. A baby being born, a person underwater (shadowy) and a person dying. This may sound odd, but it was showing the cycle of life in a new way. It was really weird seeing a woman giving birth so soon after I had done it myself and my own labour was very different from it. The film of the woman giving birth apparent ran for a very long time (hours) and I was lucky to come in a few minutes before she actually delivered the baby. While I stood there watching my 12 week old son kept everyone amused by making funny noises at inopportune moments. For me as I had spent the last 12 months reading baby magazines and seeing birth pictures, I was quite used to seeing stuff like this, but I’m sure that some people may have found it a bit more "raw" and "cutting edge". Lots of people were crying when the baby was born as it was so emotional. If something can touch people like this, surely it can be called art.
I loved this exhibition it was brilliant.
I hardly need to say that this gallery comes highly recommended. There was so much material to see over so many floors that it was hard to get round it all and we came back the next day! It also gets top marks for being parent friendly. The Tate Modern is not to be missed, this really is the true success story of the millennium, something that will last the test of time, everyone
wants to go and best of all it’s free.
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