My first visit to the Switch House at the Tate Modern was on a very rainy cloudy and dark day last week. In fact it was a day after the historic vote to leave the EU and the weather seemed to mirror the mood of most Londoners. Wanting to start on the 10th floor and work my way down through the new gallery spaces and because the lifts were in such great demand I climbed up what starts as a sweeping staircase and changes to narrower stairways and interesting architectural spaces and a bridge even on level 1 and 4 to cross over to the older galleries in the Boiler House on the other side. On the way to the 10th floor and the viewing gallery I had a quick look at the Louise Bourgeois room on level 4. It was thoughtful that she should be the first artist represented in the ‘Artists Room’ a collection gifted by Anthony D’Offey in 2008. The first exhibition in the Turbine Hall when it first opened in 2000, housed Louise Bourgeois’s enormous spider and the three towers one could walk up into it was a great show and remains a permanent fixture in my memory.
I was out of breath even before the spectacular view could have taken my breath away! A walk around the outside of the generous space of the viewing gallery provided a whole new vista of my favorite town and honing my eyes in closer to the buildings just across from the Tate I also had a new view straight into the exposed glass fronted apartment buildings but there was not a soul in sight, and I agree with Laura Cummings from the Observer, in that those ‘Neo’ apartments have become a part of the art a concept even as one sees them from Switch House viewing tower.
The Tanks down on the ground floor are dedicated to live art and performance. Plus a space for video art and the moving image. I watched Apichatpong Weerasethakul a fiction fantasy rolled into one on several screens at once and left the other exhibits for another time. Around Robert Morris’s sculpture which looks remarkably of the moment yet stems from 1965 dancers or performers spontaneously created human sculptures in amongst the audience and Charlotte Posnenske’s Revolving Vane (1967) pieces were playful and changed shapes while interacting with the audience.
There is such a lot to see and I went back to visit on Saturday evening and found myself in the middle of a sound performance where I saw all those wonderful sound installation pieces in action surrounding us all with the mesmerising sounds of a ballon loosing it’s air amplified through a big black make shift tuba and a xylophone made from slate, water music gurgling from pipes and chains lifted out from pottery pots these sounds are not normally listened to with such reverence.
Whether you like the Switch House or not it has given a very interesting new dimension to the Tate Modern and I look forward to going back to experience the other exhibits!