On my recent visit to London I had a morning spare so went off to the Tate Modern art gallery. Taking the Underground to Blackfriars Station, you exit onto Farringdon St, turn left and the Thames is just a few metres away. Walking along the riverbank you can see the Millennium Bridge immediately in front of you, for pedestrians only, the Southwark Bridge behind it and beyond that again, Tower Bridge.
Across the river is The Shard and in the foreground, with its dominant chimney, the former Bankside Power Station, now the Tate Modern.
So over the bridge I went. Down the steps on the approach to the bridge, looking back, is a great view of St Paul’s Cathedral and then once in the Tate and up a few floors there is another good view back over the river.
There is a huge amount within the Tate, all of it thought-provoking.
Gilbert and George provoked a few thoughts. They are a couple of chaps living in East London who churn out works, 100 copies at a time, for which, we are led to believe, people of their own free will shell out up to 1200 quid each for them. Good on you, Gilbert and George.
A few other things caught my eye but they are really just a tiny part of what the Tate Modern is all about. The installation of triangular wooden planters is entitled, apparently without any trace of irony, “Empty Lot”. They contain soil gathered from parks all over London. Nothing is planted in them but they are regularly watered and lit with high-intensity lamps: “The unpredictable nature of the work, which may grow and change from one week to the next, provokes questions about the city and nature, as well as wider ideas of chance, change, and hope” according to the artist, Abraham Cruzvillegas (www.tate.org.uk).
I rather liked the works of German artist Gerhard Richter, notwithstanding that his inspiration for the works on display was listening to the music of John Cage. Cage is the composer who once famously wrote a piece for piano entitled 4’33” which was 4 minutes and 33 seconds of complete silence from the instruments. Difficult, I think, to find much inspiration there, but then I am not an acclaimed artist like Richter.
Another set of works I enjoyed was by the Frenchman Jean Dubuffett. Abstract again, a painted collage in a childlike, naive style, alive and vibrant. The one I photographed was called “Vicissitudes”.
Not much to show for a morning, perhaps. But I will be going back to the Tate Modern again. There is so much to see and to wonder at, particularly the breadth of human imagination. Highly recommended.