I never thought McDonald’s could be scary…
On Saturday afternoon team JP Creative, (Michelle, Alex and Myself) went to check out the Tate Britain’s ‘housewarming’ party. Having recently joined JPC as the brand new Content Creator, I wanted to do some inspiration gathering. Tate has just undergone a £45 million pound makeover and we were keen to see if it would live up to all the media hype. The gallery has previously been criticized for its failure to modernise. By clinging onto its Victorian aesthetic, yet choosing to display contemporary works, the space often felt confused, outdated and in the midst of an identity crisis. What a difference two years can make…
By the time we arrived the ‘party’ was in full swing. A series of workshops, impromptu catwalk shows and talks were being held throughout the gallery and we were spoilt for choice. The first workshop we observed was the Digital Hijackers forum, where we were taught how to create our own Tate website and to ‘remix’ classical art to create our own GIFs. Although, as Alex pointed out, it might have been more fun if we had been able to combine our own images with some of the more traditional works, in honour of the selfie.
After some endless wandering and getting lost we managed to get our bearings and find the ‘Chapman Family collection’ by Jake and Dinos Chapman. The exhibition was a macabre collection of North African wooden sculptures, which, upon closer inspection, resembled famous McDonald’s caricatures, such as the Hamburglar and Ronald McDonald. The resulting mish-mash of American consumerism with the traditional Kenyan medium was enough to put you off your happy meal!
An exhibition, which failed to impress, however, was Martin Creed’s ‘The Lights going on and off’. According to the disclaimer, Creed manipulated existing light fixtures in one of the galleries empty rooms so that it flickered on and off every four seconds. This was done to simulate a constant cycle of happiness and sadness. Nice try Tate Britain, but your attempts to pass off your dodgy wiring as ‘Art’ are fooling no one.
The TB’s greatest feature is undoubtedly the way in which the artwork has been integrated into the fabric of the building itself. Walls, floors, ceilings and staircases are in themselves, art. Its spiral rotunda staircase, its defining feature, is a tribute to its original art deco flooring, which was ripped up in the 1930’s, yet still pushes it towards modernity, and the optical illusions which made artist M. C. Esher so popular in the 70’s.
Having had its first full scale remodel in 112 years, Adam Caruso and Peter St John, who oversaw the renovations, have undoubtedly succeeded in simultaneously giving a nod to Tate Britain’s past whilst opening it up to the modern world. Identity crisis averted.