Tate Modern is one of South London’s most famous art museums and for good reason. Walking into the Tate I had no idea what to expect and the building itself was a shock to me since I had expected a slick modern building but instead I was greeted by an old industrial building.
The building that now houses the Tate Modern was originally the Bankside Power Station designed and built after the Second World War by British architect Sir Giles Gilbert Scott.
Yet the starkness and industrial feel of the building seems to complement the unusual art living inside its walls. Tate Modern hosts various exhibitions throughout the year including the current exhibition of eccentric art by famous artist Damien Hirst. Outside of the changing exhibitions the Tate holds its permanent collection which boasts everything from Monet to Picasso to Holzer. The two permanent collections that currently call the Tate Modern home are entitled State of Flux and poetry and dream. The names of these exhibitions are perfectly suited for the aurora that the Tate evokes.
Much of the art at Tate Modern, art like Marisa Merz’s Untitled (Living Sculpture) that appears to be metal mushrooms hanging from the ceiling and John Latham’s Film Star which shows books bulging from a canvas and is focused around the old saying “When an old person dies, a whole library dies with them”, seems to be in a state of flux or be the stuff of dreams. There is no real definition or specific being created in these pieces. It’s not like looking at a Da Vanci where we know we are looking at a portrait of a woman etc.
The art resting in Tate Modern is much more fluid and intangible. It’s the art that makes us question, ponder and search for meaning. It’s the art that stirs our imagination and inspires us to push beyond the mental boundaries of what we consider to be ‘art’ in the traditional sense. That’s what makes Tate Modern so wonderful and a true South London jewel because it’s within an old power station’s walls that we can truly let go of reality and be immersed in the imaginative world that modern art gives us the keys to unlock.
Visiting Tate Modern was a wonderful experience for me and a fitting end to my art adventures in south London. I most likely won’t be back at the Tate Modern for a while, but if you’re one of the lovely people that calls south London home be sure not to ignore what’s in your own back garden, visit the Tate and see what alluring modern art just might capture your fancy.