Tate Modern Opens New Switch House Extension

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Jun 17, 2016

by ALEX GREIG, Online Writer

The Tate Modern extension delivers 60 per cent more space with the addition of the Switch House, which includes magnificent performance art zones and an incredible viewing terrace.

A derelict power station became the stage for one of the world’s most impressive collections of modern art back in 2000 when the Boiler House became home to the London Tate Modern.

Now the edifice’s subterranean oil tanks have become part of the 10-storey Switch House extension, designed by the museum’s original Swiss architects, Herzog & de Meuron.

The extension, as well as a whole re-hang of the gallery ­– 40 per cent of whose works are previously unseen – opened to the public on Friday 17 June.

The “twisted pyramid” design of the building is itself art – as is the panoramic view from the 10th level terrace. The interior is airy and industrial – kind of like a fancy car park, with polished concrete floors and dramatic curved staircases.

The enormous subterranean tanks are the world’s first permanent space dedicated to live art, including performance, installation and film.

Tate Modern

The original Tate Modern building. Image via Tate Photography.

Five million people swarm through the doors each year, a number that eventually became problematic for the contemporary art museum. The extension makes it easier to see the artworks, and has opened up the possibility for new kinds of art – the digital, the audio, the ephemeral.

As the latest building took shape, the curators were expanding the Tate Modern collection to include far more female artists, international art and installations.

SEE ALSO: Kevin Sumption's Top 10 Museums Around the World

Vast spaces have been created, but still deliver intimacy: small areas dedicated to single artists, suites of rooms for education and discussion, artworks displayed in hallways and stairwells, in nooks and crannies.

The launch has heralded three days of celebration comprising as much modern art as any connoisseur could wish for.

Included are a choral work involving more than 500 singers from community choirs around London, art talks from Tate staff, and a work written and choreographed by US singer-songwriter Solange Knowles.

I should be sleep but...

A video posted by Solange (@saintrecords) on Jun 9, 2016 at 1:19am PDT

10am-6pm daily. Bankside, London SE1 9TG. Tate.org.uk