Tanks at Tate Modern 29.03.17

An afternoon at Tate Modern originally to see the Robert Rauschenberg and Wolfgang Tillmans shows but as it turned out much more excited by the dance, sound performances and installations in the tanks.

The Robert Rauschenberg show was disappointing with a very narrow exhibition concept or wider story, a simple walk through of his work. The Schwitters In Britain show a few years ago was a much broader and more absorbing offer, incorporating contemporary reactions from Adam Chodzko and Laure Prouvost of Grizedale Arts. Given Rauschenberg’s long varied career, and his continuing influence, I’m sure a more inventive show was entirely possible. Also, sadly, underwhelmed by the Wolfgang Tillmans show – again an uninspiring one dimensional presentation of his work, particularly when the issues he raises are so key to the current socio-political debate.

However, the informal performances taking place in the tanks, the bowels of the Tate, were surprising and refreshing. Dancers permeated visitors, leaning on pillars almost imperceptibly swaying to a mesmerising sound loop. The tanks are a group of dark cave like concrete rooms. Neon installations, echoing industrial music, a sweet damp concrete smell and emergency lighting are reminiscent of multi-storey car parks, warehouse parties and improvised sub-culture venues – a nostalgic sensory experience.

The fairground spectacle of Fujiko Nakaya’s London Fog #03779 was also very popular, drawing people out of the main building to enjoy a distinct sensory experience.