Tate Modern is a massive place, it was created in 2000 from a disused power station. There are four wings located on levels 3 and 5, and at the heart of each wing is a large central display. Around the galleries are dedicated reading spaces where you can find out more about the art on view. There is such a lot to see there, for anyone who wants to study the works in depth.
However I didn't have the time to go too deeply into it, I know what I like to look at the instant I see it, so I didn't linger in places where there was nothing to grab my attention. One thought which entered my head while trying to make sense of some of the paintings was, are they taking the p!ss, do they think we, Joe Public, are daft enough not to see through their scam. One picture was about six foot square, the whole canvas was painted in one colour, and it had a two inch band of a different colour painted down the right hand side edge. Now where is the art in that?
I would have liked to see far more installations than there were. Endless abstract paintings don't do anything for me, I much prefer a three dimensional piece that has been constructed with great thought going into it. An idea which grows like a seed, and is is assessed at every stage of it's journey to completion.
Talking of seeds, these are the exhibits which appealed to me. The artist, Ai Weiwei, created 'Sunflower Seeds', which is on display in the Turbine Hall. 700 million hand crafted sunflower seeds made out of porcelain, cover the entire floor to a depth of about three inches. A walkway has been left along one side. When it first opened visitors were allowed to walk over them, but it was decided that with the amount of dust being created, this could lead to respiratory problems, so they are now roped off.
There is a video to watch which shows how they were made, each one was painted by hand. It gave a lot of work to the people in the Chinese city of Jingdezhen. If you want to read more about it please click on this link.
I was fascinated by this exhibit. Imagine two felled trees, stripped of their branches, with the remaining trunks squared off to become two long wooden beams. Then the artist comes along and turns them back into their original form. It must have been very difficult to transport them to the Tate, especially the thinner tree which is wider at the top than it is at the bottom. An interesting idea I thought.
Now what is so clever about these two exhibits? Answer, they are not what you think they are. At first glance you think, dusty work bench in an old shed, and a garage workshop. Nope! Those are not tyres on top of pallets, and half used pots of paint and bits of wood. That would have been too easy. Everything you see has been hand made, crafted out of different materials. Amazing how life like they look, I am in awe of the artist.