I recently visited London and took a trip to TATE Modern, as I had seen that the new extension part had been completed and I was very interested in to what was new. I also wanted to see the Mona Hatoum exhibition on at the original Tate Modern building.
I firstly went to see Mona Hatoum’s solo show; this exhibition displays art work by Hatoum over her 35 years of working in Britain. I had research Hatoums work before and found inspiration in her piece ‘you are still here’, so I was really intrigued whether this piece would be displayed.
In a series of 10 rooms, around 100 of Mona Hatoum’s works were exhibited – a varied mixture of mediums, but mostly large sculptural works stood centre stage. For me it was quite an odd exhibition in how each piece holds its own context that is quite different to the rest, so it was a mixture of feelings going around, making the exhibition very stimulating because no two works were the same.
The first piece that caught my eye was ‘light sentence’, 1992. This was displayed in a room on its own and the effect of this piece was mesmerizing. Hatoum is known for working with the theme of oppression and containment, which was very evident in this work, the shadows cast by the single light bulb between the cages gives the effect of prison bars. The idea of containment is heightened by the bulb rotating slightly so the shadows glitch on the walls, it makes you feel very claustrophobic even thought the room is very open – this was definitely a highlight of Mona Hatoums exhibition.
‘Hot Spot III’, 2009, was the next piece that really caught my eye. As I have been researching into neon signs, it was great to see the material used in a different way. I’ve never seen neon used in a sculptural form to such a large scale. I liked how Hatoum had taken something normal like the globe and changed the context of it by making it glow red, the surrounding room was glowing and effected by this electrifying piece.
The final artwork that struck me was ‘you are still here’, 1994. The piece I had been researching was there for me to view in the flesh. It was really amazing to see a reflection of yourself with those words over you, as someone who overthinks everything, it was grounding to see this message on myself – this was definitely my favourite piece. Amazingly to think that from all the enormous artworks from this exhibition this small lone piece affected me the most.
Overall, this was a fantastic exhibition, I had high hopes for it and they were all exceeded – it was really well set out and each artwork stood on its own.
Images of artworks also featured in Mona Hatoum’s solo exhibition:
The New TATE Modern
The first aspect to comment on the new extension to the Tate modern is the stunning architecture, designed by Herzog & de Meuron who had also designed the original Tate modern building. It’s a very striking building with its unique and modern shape.
This new building has been advertised as 10 floors, entered, expecting to be overwhelmed by art. I began at the top which is a balcony floor where you can go out and view the sights of surrounding London. This is a really amazing touch to the building as it’s in the centre and the views are incredible:
I then travelled down the stairs to level 9 where there was a café, then to level 8 where there was a member’s room, then to level 7 and so on where there was no art, just rooms. It wasn’t until levels 3, 2, 1 where I saw works. I was quite disappointed by this as this new space is advertised as 10 floors of art yet only 3 of them have artworks.
As for the artworks on the three floors, nothing really stood out to me as it usually does at Tate. I can’t say that the works in these spaces were to my taste, they were still intriguing but nothing really excited me.
However I have 2 highlights, the first was ‘I am Afraid’, 2009 by Louise Bourgeois. Bourgeois had a solo exhibition in the new Tate modern and this was the piece that really stood out to me. Her other works were interesting but I didn’t connect with them, but the ‘I am Afraid’ piece was really touching – very simply presented and it felt like raw emotion and very romantic/poetic.
The second work I really liked was in a mixed exhibition and titled; ‘The Passing Winter’, 2005 by Yayoi Kusama. This was a sculptural piece where from afar the viewer sees a mirrored box with circular holes in it, when approaching the piece and looking inside the gaps, you enter a huge sci-fi type room where you are surrounded by mirrored shapes and portraits. This was a really fun interactive work that will always be seen as different to every viewer. It reminded me of a matrix type alternate universe, where everything is infinite; there is no beginning or end and it carried on forever.
Images of other works at the new Tate Modern:
Not the experience I was expecting from this new Tate building but still an insightful one, I’m excited to see it develop and become home to new exhibitions in the future.