Five highlights at Tate Modern


Roni Horn, Pink Tons, 2009

To launch its new space Tate has made some exciting contemporary acquisitions – such as this pink glass cuboid by Roni Horn. At first glance it could be mistaken for Minimalist, but on closer observation it reveals itself to be wonderfully complex. The sculpture's appearance changes not only dependent on vantage point – whether peering in to its reflective heart or gazing flatly at its opaque sides – but also the time of day; situated next to a gaping floor-to-ceiling window, it glows with varying intensity as the natural light changes. Pink Tons was acquired with Art Fund support in 2016.


Louise Bourgeois, Spider, 1994

Half of the solo displays at the new Tate Modern are devoted to female artists – including a three-room presentation of Louise Bourgeois works from the Artist Rooms collection. Spiders are a recurrent motif in the artist's work, which she likened to maternal figures. In a 1995 poem she wrote: 'The friend (the spider – why the spider?) because my best friend was my mother and she was deliberate, clever, patient, soothing, reasonable, dainty, subtle, indispensable, neat, and useful as an araignée'. This version measures a monumental 2743 x 4572 x 3785 mm, making it a truly inescapable presence.


Ricardo Basbaum, Capsules, 2000

Interaction is at the core of the new gallery, as demonstrated by this multi-part installation that 'research artist' Ricardo Basbaum created in 2000. Basbaum seeks to turn passive viewers into active participants by inviting them to occupy one of a variety of bed-capsules, each of which is specially designed to allow its inhabitant to communicate with those surrounding them in different ways. Human behaviour is a subject of fascination for the artist, and a theme that underpins much of his work.


Pablo Picasso, The Three Dancers, 1925

One of the key aspects of the Tate Modern regeneration project was a complete re-hang of its permanent collection. This much-loved masterpiece by Picasso for example – which is based on the artists’ personal recollections of a triangular affair that resulted in the heart-broken suicide of his friend Carlos Casagemas – is joined by new acquisitions that offer insight into the international scope of Surrealism.


Ai Weiwei, Tree, 2015

A dramatic addition to the Turbine Hall is Ai Weiwei’s 22ft-tall Tree, one of a series he started in 2009. Working with dead branches and wooden debris from the mountains of Jingdezhen in southern China, the artist constructs the sculptures in his studio using industrial bolts and joints. The key to it, he says, is ‘trying to imagine what the tree looked like’. The works have been likened to the modern Chinese nation, where state-sponsored policy aims to bring together ethnically diverse groups to create ‘One China’.

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