Switch House, the new building extension of Tate Modern designed by Herzog & De Meuron, opened its doors in June 2016. It is built on what was previously a storage space for oil called The Tanks. This space is now used for performance art, installations, film and other art that interacts with the visitor. I love the way the architects kept this space almost like it was, with the rough unadorned concrete. A funny consequence of keeping the structure largely intact is that there are little stairs leading to nowhere. The doors to which they used to lead are now filled.
The first thing I noticed when arriving at The Tanks was the monumentally staircase which brings you to the ground level. I love the beautiful natural flow it has. It’s like a grandiose sculpture.
I liked the work ‘Zero To Infinity’ of the British-Pakistani artist Rasheed Araeen. He created a modular installation consisting of one hundred blue square wooden open- framed boxes. The boxes are regularly rearranged. You can see the pictures of the transformations on the wall.
Another work I liked was The Revolving Vane by German artist Charlotte Posenenske. From the outside it looks like a black box with doors. When standing in the box there’s completely darkness with a play of natural light coming in.
I wanted to take the elevator to the highest floor where the view point is, and walk my way down again. However, this was impossible. The elevator never stopped on the ground floor or was totally packed. After waiting for 20 minutes I gave up. By walking up the stairs I had a look at every floor and at every turn of a corner, a beautiful view of the lines and materials of the buildings appeared. On the second, third and fourth floor there are free collection displays, for example the collection of Living Cities. Living Cities is an exhibition where artists display their thoughts about globalisation. Artists from Newcastle, Beirut, Los Angeles, ... explore parallels and differences between cities in which they find themselves.
On the 4th floor there is the Artist Room with Louise Bourgeois’ work exhibited at the moment. I’m a big fan of her work, especially how she achieves to create such a powerful personal feeling in her art. She is an expressionist that reflects difficulties she coped with in her youth in her work. Art is like therapy for her.
When finally arriving at the 10th floor it was definitely worth the climb. The view was beautiful. You can walk around the building so you have a 360° view.
One thing I really don’t understand is that the architects were allowed to build a building with a viewpoint right next to an apartment block. There are signs ‘Please respect the neighbour’s privacy’, but seriously: who wouldn’t take a look inside the apartments? I would be very angry if I was living there.