Thursday, April 12, 2012

Tate Modern and Southwark Theatre with Orit and Dan

Orit and Dan are in town this week!  (he via Ann Arbor, she via Israel).  Yesterday, I spent the morning at home working while they explored St. Paul's, and then went to join them in the Tate Modern.  When I finally got there, it looked like they were getting close to 'the end' of a happy time with modern art.  :-)  

I do agree that there are only so many hours one can spend in a museum before one hits the space of overload.  My own goal is generally to come away with 2 (or maximum 3) things that I find interesting.  So, here are my picks from the time spent on the 5th floor of the Tate, in the "Arte Povera and Anti-Form" section (all about art where artists from the 60s were exploring the idea of energy, and the process of making things).

Peone, "Tree of 12 feet"

First, I loved "Tree of 12 meters" by Giuseppe Peone.  I know they just look like two dead trees, but you have to get up closer. 

He has taken two industrial pieces of timber, and then he had taken a chisel, and followed the knots in the wood, carving away the various rings to reveal 'the tree' that is actually still in the centre of the log. 

closeup view of the 12 foot tree...

You can get a better view of it in the close up shot.  Indeed, close up, you really can tell that he has carved anything away.  it just looks like a tree that has been stripped of its bark.

I liked it when Dan pointed out that one of the two trees seems to be 'upside down' (that is, the artist left the uncarved portion of the log near the upper branches rather than near the base of the trunk). 

me, altering my relation to the art...

My second pick was Carl Andre's "Steel Zinc Plain".  Basically, it is a set of silver and black squares laid in a checker board pattern in the middle of the gallery.  According to the artist notes, it "represents a territory or a space as much as an object. By placing it on the floor rather than on a plinth and allowing it to be walked across, Andre alters the viewer's relations to the work of art."   

It was quite fun standing beside it, watching people walk around it, and then sticking my foot on and off the metal plates as people passed: you know... seeing which people are or are not quite ready to be altered by the art (and am still trying to sort out whether the experience has left me transformed, or was merely a transitory bump!) 

Orit pretending to be a piece of modern art...

It was about this time that I realized Orit was ready to go. 

I got the hint when I saw her sitting against the wall, posing as her very own work of art.

That was a signal that it was time to head to the coffee shop up on the 7th floor! 

We spent some time up there chatting, looking across towards St. Paul's, and watching people stroll to and from the south bank along the Millenium Bridge, and the clouds similarly wanders across the horizon.

View of the Thames from the Tate Modern

sitting in the 'foyer' of the vaults before the show

After that, it was off for an early dinner, and then to the theatre!   We all know my weakness for musical theatre, but Orit is made of sterner stuff.  There was no convincing her to try for some moments of levity and song:  things with happy endings seem to bore her.

So instead, we went to see "Black Battles with Dogs" at the Southwark Theatre.

the vaults at the Southwark Playhouse

I really do love this theatre.  (Alex and I went there last month to see their production of "Shivered".)

The theatre operates in the vaults below platform 1 of the London Bridge Railstation.  So you are not only in these arches brick vault spaces, you can also hear a rumble as trains go by from time to time.  It is totally atmospheric, and really contributes to the sense of being in some other space.

And the play?  It was perfect! (no happy endings!)  :-) You can click here for a short interview with the director, and a glance at the cast and the space.  All in all, a perfect day....


1 comment:

  1. I will be flying in May 2nd. I noticed that the play goes to May 5th. If you have tickets in your pocket for me, I think I could find my way there alone.

    Of course, what I would really like is the rest of the day at the Tate and people watching from the restaurant as well.



Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.