Black day for art lovers at the Tate Modern
The Tate Modern has unveiled its latest giant installation -- one that is guaranteed to leave all visitors completely in the dark.
An enormous steel chamber, not unlike a sea container, was unveiled on October 12 at Tate Modern in London, with visitors invited to walk up a ramp and enter a black void. Those who fear the dark may want to stay away.
The sculpture, called "How It Is," is by Miroslaw Balka and is the tenth work in Tate Modern's annual series of Unilever commissions, which began with Louise Bourgeois' giant spider in 2000 and has since included an enormous sun, thousands of boxes and a giant crack in the floor.
The Warsaw-born artist has created a piece that the gallery fully expects will unnerve and unsettle visitors. The structure is enormous -- 30 metres long, 10m wide and 13m high -- and once inside it, visitors will walk into complete blackness hoping -- presumably -- that they don't then bump or knock into fellow art-lovers.
Tate Modern said health and safety had been on its mind and the space will be regularly patrolled by attendants with torches.
Balka is alluding to many things in the work -- the biblical Plague of Darkness, black holes in space, images of hell -- but curator Helen Sainsbury said reactions to the work would differ.
"Each one of us will approach this work and experience it very differently," she said. "For some it may be an incredibly sombre experience, for most it will be unnerving. For others there will be something quite comforting about going into a space like this full of strangers, yet being aware of each other."
Balka has been working on the piece, from concept to installation, for a year. Asked what his first reaction on walking into the completed container was, he said: "Whoa. It works."
The title, "How It Is," is taken from Samuel Beckett's novel of the same name and Balka said the piece should be seen as being about everything and nothing. "There is no one single direct inspiration for the piece and the words of the artist are not so important. The work is important. It is good or bad. It works or it does not work."
The work has been built by a structural metalwork company, Littlehampton Welding, and the interior walls are lined with a soft flock that is 10 times blacker than normal black paint.