The Empty Tate

A photo visual essay

It’s empty. That’s the first thing you notice when you go into the Tate Modern.

It’s August Bank Holiday Monday and I decided to got to the museum because tbh in these lockdown-on lockdown-off times it is one of the few things you can do irl that isn’t pub or a walk.

The Turbine Hall looked like it was deserted. I turned right to the new building to wonder the cavernous spaces of the Boiler House. There is only one exhibit: a tight rope walker carrying works of art between two mountain peaks.

Making my way up the empty staircases to the fourth floor I became aware of the space.

How inviting it is around every corner.

The light drawing you in, reflected off the wooden floors. Scooping you up and gently coaxing you further and further in.

Space as if divided and existing on its own, without crowds and individuals to break it up.

To disrupt it.

A donation box

Then, some colour among the austerity of light woods and grey concretes.

Its glorious emptiness broken by a human passing.

An oblique view, like Toto drawing the curtain to reveal the Wizard of Oz …

exposes its secret.

And on the way down arrows arrows everywhere.

Then the shop. A glimps not only of brighter colour but of that element that made this journey so magical and was so missed – people. I go in and buy a birthday present for a special artist friend.

Outside the shop more colour.

The Tate itself an exhibit.

(Too meta to chew, darling)

Over on the old building it’s less empty. Feels a bit more like a visit on a Tuesday morning rather than the end of days.

In and among the exhibits of varying degrees of interest and relevance – a gem!

I must film this!

Its time to go.

Just one last arty one with my shoes.

At Blackfriars I feel obliged to spend two pounds on a bitter espresso I don’t really want, but feel a moral duty to do my bit for keeping the economy going.

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