Tate Modern opened its new space The Tanks to gallery friends yesterday and week one of its 15-week Art in Action performance and dance programme.The entrance to the new space is just to the right of the Turbine Hall. The first thing that struck me was how seamlessly the new space joined on and how it was just how you might expect converted oil tanks of a former power station to look. There were some issues, though, with the dark. Disappearing into one gallery to see a video by Sung Hwan Kim, we were able to find our way only via a guide’s torchlight. On the way, there was a glass division with another staff member making sure no-one walked into it. Perhaps feeling like a lost mole was part of the experience.
In another space, Suzanne Lacy’s The Crystal Quilt dealt with women and ageing. A sound installation inside a kind of circular subsection discussed women’s financial and living plans for their later life in a red-lit room and the bigger space housed a quilt and time-lapse film of a quilt reproduction being created. It was striking and thought-provoking, if a little confused as film viewers unwittingly blocked the way to the smaller room.
The biggest space had dancer and choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker performing to Steve Reich music. She is dancing one of four movements on the hour every afternoon until Friday, with the complete work at sold-out ticketed performances tomorrow and Friday nights. The one I saw was Violin Phase, with relatively repetitive dancing reflecting the music’s structure. It took place around a white circle painted on the floor inside a larger painted square, surrounded by people . At 3pm yesterday, perhaps 300 people were watching. Music came from speakers around the outside of the circular space, so the performer and audience were surrounded by Reich and his reverberations. It was very much an experience.
Signage in The Tanks is by projected light onto its concrete walls.
More building work continues outside Tate Modern.
Through the keyhole, followed by what you can see through it.