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First look inside Tate Modern's Switch House

We visited the new Tate Modern and we loved it! Here is a first insight into the extension.

On 17 June 2016, over a weekend of celebrations, Tate Modern opened its new wing, the Switch House and London became home to the biggest museum of modern art on the planet.

The Switch House, Tate Modern, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery
The new Tate Modern: The Switch House

The Switch House promises to transform the experience of art. The purpose-designed gallery spaces involve even more international art and more art by women. A collection that is more 'diverse and engaging', says Tate Modern’s new director, Frances Morris.

The works are from artists around the world, currently representing over 50 countries.
Among them is Ana Lupas, Romania.

Her work The Solemn Process 1964 - 2008 (The Switch House, Level 3) comprises of 21 unique metal sculptures that aim to keep tradition alive. It is a project she started in 1964, when Lupas oversaw the creation of large straw structures in villages in Transylvania. She enlisted the help of villagers who used weaving techniques traditionally employed to make wreaths for harvest festivals. The activity fell into decline when in the mid-1970s, the economic and social changes in Romania made it difficult for participants to continue. Lupas could no longer ensure that the objects would be made each year. She tried different ways to preserve them, first by restoring the original wreaths, then by drawing them. Eventually, in the early 2000s, she developed the technique of sealing them in metal ‘tins’. This solution satisfied the artist as a practical means of preservation and a way of combining the natural and traditional ‘wreaths of wheat’ with modern, industrial associations through the metal casing. 

Process by Ana Lupas, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery
The Solemn Process 1964 - 2008 by Ana Lupas 

Process by Ana Lupas, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery
The Solemn Process 1964 - 2008 by Ana Lupas 

Visitors are even invited to engage with some of the artworks. Here are a few examples:

Ricardo Basbaum's Capsules (NBP x me-you) 2000, an installation which, as described, involves wall drawings, a soundtrack, a book and a series of bed-capsules which visitors are invited to occupy. It aims to explore communication, human consciousness and the interaction between people.

Capsules (NBP x me-you) by Ricardo Basbaum, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery
Capsules (NBP x me-you) 2000 by Ricardo Basbaum

Capsules (NBP x me-you) by Ricardo Basbaum, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery 
Capsules (NBP x me-you) 2000 by Ricardo Basbaum

Marwan Rechmaoui's Beirut Caoutchouc 2004-8 is a detailed floor-based rubber map of Beirut. Visitors are permitted to walk over it. This way they can engage with the artist's representation of a city which has shown great resilience in the face of earthquake, fire and war. 

Beirut Caoutchouc 2004-8 by Marwan Rechmaoui

Beirut Caoutchouc 2004-8 by Marwan Rechmaoui

Amalia Pica's Strangers 2008 is a performance work in which two people who have never met before hold a string of bunting that keeps them 10 meters apart. This is 'a distance that allows for talking, but not intimately...[...] their bond also establishes their separation' explains the artist.

Strangers by Amalia Pica, fineartmoldova, Tate Modern, Toporas Online Art Gallery
Strangers 2008 by Amalia Pica

The installations also include the famous Tree 2010 (The Switch House, Turbine Hall, Level 1) by renowned Chinese contemporary artist and activist Ai Weiwei. It was made by piecing together individual dry branches, roots and trunks from different species of trees from across China. The artist explains that the work celebrates the Chinese custom of displaying distinctive tree trunks and curiously shaped roots as home decorations. 

Tree 2010 Ai Weiwei, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery, Fine Art Moldova
Tree 2010 by Ai Weiwei 

Previously the Bankside Power Station designed by Sir Gilbert Scott (an English architect who also designed the famous red telephone box!), Tate Modern's new 64.5m 10-storey building was designed by architects Herzog & de Meuron. 'As well as doubling the gallery space, The Tate Modern Project will create a diverse collection of public spaces dedicated to relaxation and reflection, making and doing, group learning and private study.' Herzog & de Meuron.

Tate Modern, The Switch House, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery 

View from the Turbine Hall link bridge connecting the Boiler House galleries of the original Tate Modern building to the new Switch House

Cladding brickwork and city-view, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery
Cladding brickwork and city-view

On the inside, levels 1 to 9 hold galleries, a members’ room, education spaces, a restaurant and staff offices.

Entrance to gallery Tate Modern, Switch House, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery

Level 10 is a viewing level - an open terrace where visitors are welcome to enjoy a beautiful free 360° view of the London skyline.

London skyline view from Level 10, Tate Modern, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery
London skyline view from Level 10, The Switch House

Level 0 holds The Tanks. Previously filled with oil that fueled the turbines of the old power station, the space has now been given over to various forms of art involving film, sound and live performance. 

An example is another Romanian artist, Alexandra Perici and Manuel Pelmuș, who together with other performers use their bodies to transform artworks, some of which are well-known works from the Tate collection, originally made in other media.   

Public Collection by Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmus, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery
Public Collection 2016 by Alexandra Pirici and Manuel Pelmuș

Another example is Tarek Atoui's The Reverse Collection 2016 which is an improvised performance with ten instruments. 

The Reverse Collection by Tarek Atoui, fineartmoldova, Toporas Online Art Gallery, Tate Modern  
The Reverse Collection 2016 by Tarek Atoui

The new Tate Modern is definitely 'redefining the museum for the twenty first century', Tate Modern.

Visit our official Facebook page for more photos. Don't forget to Like our page and keep up to date with events on the Moldovan and international art scenes.  

Frances Morris, Tate Modern director


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