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A Taste of the Tate Modern

Another brilliant free museum dedicated to modern art!

It’s lovely because it’s more concerned about representing ideas than the actual thing you see. Here are a few pieces, along with descriptions and thoughts from the Museum curators.

Do colors exist when you're not looking at them?
Do colors exist when you’re not looking at them? “Yellow versus Purple” by Olafur Eliasson uses light shining through a rotating disc of glass with a filter to explore this question. He says “Colour doesn’t exist in and of itself, only when looked at. The fact that “colour” uniquely, only materialises when light bounces off it into our retina indicates that analysing colour is in fact about analysing ourselves.”

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There was a whole room dedicated to artists exploring “white,” the color.

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Left: "Man with a Newspaper" by René Magritte. "These four simply painted scenes, which seem to be indistinguishable apart from the disappearance of the man of the title. They were based on an illustration in a popular health manual. There are slight changes of perspective between the four panels, which add to the disquieting effect, and may relate to the displacement of images in early 3-D viewing devices. This subtle undermining of the everyday was characteristic of Magritte and his Belgian Surrealist colleagues, who preferred quiet subversion to overt public action." Right: "Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I" by Ibrahim El-Salahi. "The square format, sober palette, deliberate drips and intentional wrinkling of the paint surface are all characteristic of El-Salahi’s work from this period. While the heads of the figures recall African masks, the artist has also suggested that the ‘elongated, black-eyed, glittering facial shapes might represent the veils our mothers and grandmothers used to wear in public, or the faces of the drummers and tambourine players I had seen circling wildly during funeral ceremonies and chants in praise of Allah’"
Left: “Man with a Newspaper” by René Magritte. “These four simply painted scenes, which seem to be indistinguishable apart from the disappearance of the man of the title. They were based on an illustration in a popular health manual. There are slight changes of perspective between the four panels, which add to the disquieting effect, and may relate to the displacement of images in early 3-D viewing devices. This subtle undermining of the everyday was characteristic of Magritte and his Belgian Surrealist colleagues, who preferred quiet subversion to overt public action.” Right: “Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I” by Ibrahim El-Salahi. “The square format, sober palette, deliberate drips and intentional wrinkling of the paint surface are all characteristic of El-Salahi’s work from this period. While the heads of the figures recall African masks, the artist has also suggested that the ‘elongated, black-eyed, glittering facial shapes might represent the veils our mothers and grandmothers used to wear in public, or the faces of the drummers and tambourine players I had seen circling wildly during funeral ceremonies and chants in praise of Allah’”
"Physichromie No. 113" by Carlos Cruz-Diez. The work is designed to be viewed from multiple angles. Depending on the viewer’s position in relation to the work, the colour across its surface alters radically, transforming from one chromatic range to another as the viewer moves in front of it. The term ‘Physichromie’ is a term invented by the artist to communicate his combined intention for the works. On the one hand, the works explore the physical effects of colour on the viewer. On the other hand, they encourage the viewer to experience colour or ‘chroma’ as unfolding and continually changing, much as colour is experienced in nature."
“Physichromie No. 113″ by Carlos Cruz-Diez. The work is designed to be viewed from multiple angles. Depending on the viewer’s position in relation to the work, the colour across its surface alters radically, transforming from one chromatic range to another as the viewer moves in front of it. The term ‘Physichromie’ is a term invented by the artist to communicate his combined intention for the works. On the one hand, the works explore the physical effects of colour on the viewer. On the other hand, they encourage the viewer to experience colour or ‘chroma’ as unfolding and continually changing, much as colour is experienced in nature.”
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This piece has movement.

Click here to see “Light Dynamo”^ in action.

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Right: This was my favorite piece of the series. With the lighting in the room (as Rothko intended them) the colors really did seem alive! This particular piece looked as if the two tall rectangles were slits that looked confining, as if they were shrinking or part of a long tunnel of sorts.  There's a Rothko from this series in the Freer Sackler Galleries of Washington DC on view with a red porcelain bowl, a celebration of the intense red color.
Right: This was my favorite piece of the series. With the lighting in the room (as Rothko intended them) the colors really did seem alive! This particular piece looked as if the two tall rectangles were slits that looked confining, as if they were shrinking or part of a long tunnel of sorts.
There’s a Rothko from this series in the Freer Sackler Galleries of Washington DC on view with a red porcelain bowl, a celebration of the intense red color.

One of the coolest interactive experiences in the Tate Modern was an installation in the main foyer that used GIANT screens, sounds, lights, and motion. It seems on a random schedule, and moves/flashes/sounds differently each time.

Left: Description of "Anywhen" by Phillip Parreno. Right: Us, laying down to view the screens on the ceiling.
Left: Description of “Anywhen” by Phillip Parreno. Right: Us, laying down to view the screens on the ceiling.
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It wasn’t always on, but this lent to anticipation and surprise when it would start sounding, lighting, or moving. There was a constant crowd sitting, laying, and watching.
Left: View from the second floor. Center and Right: View from the ground floor - the three screens were parallel to the ground and dropping until they were just about 7 feet overhead.
Left: View from the second floor. Center and Right: View from the ground floor – the three screens were parallel to the ground and dropping until they were just about 7 feet overhead.

Watch “Anywhere” in motion.

Watch as Jon watches “Anywhere” in motion.

3 Comments

  1. red red

    This was an extra special post for the interactive displays! Can’t wait to open on a desktop as mobile couldn’t. Thank you for sharing the highlights from the Tate Modern!

    • Yay! I hope you enjoyed the videos!

  2. Barbara Crowe Barbara Crowe

    This looks like an amazing museum. I really enjoy the videos. Reborn Sounds of Childhood Dreams I” by Ibrahim El-Salah really speaks to me.

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