Today was unofficial new wing opening at Tate Modern – Switch House. Everyone in the neighbourhood was invited to be the first visitors, which is a really nice touch, since we were experiencing the construction firsthand.
New building is in a shape of conus and 10 floors high. Only 4 floors are exhibition spaces, other floors are for entertainment – shop, restaurant, members room and events hall. Connections to the old building are on the first and forth floors.
There is a viewing level on the top floor with 360-view on London. The views are amazing, you can see London’s beautiful skyline. There is a printed guide available describing every significant building you can see from the viewing terrace.
The building itself is executed in cutting edge industrial style. Some people said that the design “captured the essence of the building”, however, for my taste it is a bit over the edge. It look like a space before renovation, there were some leakages, some lamps were not working, sign “restaurant” was missing three letters. Brick structure was a bit disturbing in some places, especially in the cafe when you have tables right across from it.
Art-wise… A lot of video installations, large scale artworks, many interactive artworks where you can go inside or walk over it. I am not the one to judge, so I’d rather not comment on the art itself. However, there was one installation that was particularly disturbing – Tropicália, Penetrables PN 2 ‘Purity is a myth’ and PN 3 ‘Imagetical’ by Hélio Oiticica. The installation is a cage with two large African parrots inside. I think that is completely inappropriate to trap wild birds in a small room with one window for three months (parrots are changed every three months).
Overall impression from todays visit is that building still needs a lot of work. Right now it is a bit sloppy and unfinished.. It is still not THE opening, so maybe some things like lighting will be changed and signs repaired. A great three days celebration is about to begin with a lot of special events and plenty of fun! So you should join and see for yourself, the admission is free.