On its opening day The Tate’s Modern new extension, Switch House, broke records by attracting 54,000 visitors  (Tate, 2016). Named after the part of the power station that the new galleries occupy, the new space expands the museum by 60% to accommodate the surging numbers of visitors (TimeOut, 2016).

Dubbed as ‘the biggest art event of 2016’ ,the HausMag team bring you the latest from the prestigious British exhibition (TimeOut, 2016).

The Switch House by Herzog & de Meuron | Photography by Hausie

One of the most arresting and impressive aspects of the exhibition is the building itself. Designed by Herzog & de Meuron, the Switch House combines the raw and the refined with industrial overtones, harmonious with the rest of the Tate Modern. The new building’s brick concertina, perforated and through which the interior lights glow in the evening, fit with the congruous blend of the industrial and modern, characteristics of London’s Southbank.

The Tate Modern Switch House | Photography by Hausie

The Switch House is said to “redefine the museum for the 21st century” (Tate, 2016). The exhibition exhibits an enhanced focus on post-1960s art such as performance and participative art, conceptual art, film, video and photography. With a diverse cast of artists in terms of race and half of the solo displays dedicated to women, it’s apparent the Tate has decided to tackle the issues that have been “polluting” art for centuries.

Inside the Switch House | Ground Floor |Photography by The Guardian

Inside the Switch House | Ground Floor | Photography by Hausie

When entering the gallery (through the Tate Modern), the visitor is greeted with the majestic Sir Henry Tate Circle, a large spiral staircase made of concrete.

Alexandra Pirici & Manuel Pelmus’ enactment of Eugene Delacroix | Photography by Hausie

The ground floor (or basement, depending on where you enter) is dedicated to participative and performance art. The performance of Alexandra Pirici & Manuel Pelmus’ enactment of Eugene Delacroix is fascinating. While a woman, standing in the centre, makes a speech on liberty, other performers surround her and pose.

Hélio Oiticia’s Tropicalia | Photography by Tate

Marvin Gaye Chetwydn’s Hermitos Children | Photography by Tate

The Switch House, offers visitors the opportunity to interact with multiple art installations. Examples include Hélio Oiticia’s ‘Tropicalia ‘where the visitor is encouraged to engage with macaws in small wooden cabins, or ‘Marvin Gaye Chetwyns’s Hermitos Children’ where visitors can lay in the dark on large cushions to watch the artist’s work on TV screens.

Marisa Merz Untitled | Photography by Hausie

With a wide variety of creative artworks and a spectacular layout, the gallery is divided by different themes on different floors: Living Cities, Performer and Participant, and Between Object and Architecture.

Louise Bourgeois | Spider | Photography by Hausie

On the 4th floor, a whole room is dedicated to the French surrealist and feminist artist, Louise Bourgeois. This exhibition brings together a selection of Bourgeois’s late works, alongside a small number of earlier pieces from her seven-decade career. Her famous Spider stands alongside hanging naked bodies of men (Single II) and paintings of what could be organs (A L’Infini).

The Tate Modern Switch House | Photography by The Guardian

The 10th floor of the Switch House offers a 360 view of London which the old chimney dominates, like a church spire, just neighbouring the sacred dome of St Paul’s.

The Tate Modern Switch House | Photography by The Guardian

With an impressive array of  contemporary art forms, offering visitor interaction with a political twist- the Tate Modern Switch House stands as a powerful addition to the city of London.

Chris Dercon, Director, Tate Modern commented;

“Art is one of the most dynamic and engaged forms of human behaviour, and when people step into a museum today, they don’t want to step out of their life, they want to get closer to it. The new Tate Modern will be so much more than a container for art, it will be a platform for human encounters.” (Tate, 2016).

Written by Jessica Leclercq

Edited by Christina Wright



Tate Modern (2016)  [Online] Available at http://www.tate.org.uk/about/projects/tate-modern-project/design [Accessed 25/06/16]

BBC News (2016) [Online] Available at http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-36580748 [Acesseed 25/06/16] The Guardian (2016) [Online] Available at https://www.theguardian.com/artanddesign/2016/jun/19/tate-modern-switch-house-review [Accessed 25/06/16]