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Culture

Tate Britain’s Gorgeous Winter Transformation Has A Very Important Message

April Curtin April Curtin

Tate Britain’s Gorgeous Winter Transformation Has A Very Important Message

Historic art gallery by day, inspiring, sensory winter temple by night…

When we go to an art gallery, we expect to see a range of beautiful creations on the inside. However, Tate Britain have taken it a step further, bringing sensational art outside…

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From November 30, the famous Westminster gallery will officially unveil its winter commission, transforming and illuminating the gallery’s façade.

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A little different to last year’s festive slugs, artist Anne Hardy has taken inspiration from the rhythms of the earth and the tides of the River Thames. The end product is this magnificent installation: The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light.

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From now until late January, the building’s grand entrance will stand as a marooned temple, draped in tattered banners and a twinkling trail of tangled lights.

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From the shuttered doors, sculptural objects cascade down the steps… and what is that you can hear? Ah, yes, the surrounding soundscape of rain, thunder, birds and insects making for a mystical and moving atmosphere.

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The title, The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light, is inspired by pagan descriptions of the winter solstice – the darkest moment of the year. It refers to seasonal cycles and longer-term ecological patterns, and relates to contemporary social and political issues and the hope for positive change (a hope that we can all get behind).

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Anne Hardy’s immersive piece is relevant in more than one way. Her 21-minute quadrophonic sound work dives under the Thames and all across the city, taking the listener on a sonic journey from inland to ocean, hopefully encouraging thoughts about climate change.

The artist wants to transport visitors through time to a parallel prehistoric world or post-apocalyptic future, and choreographs light and sound elements to give the impression that the building has become possessed. Perhaps less Christmas, more Halloween at this point, but cool either way.

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When researching Tate Britain’s Pimlico location, Hardy discovered that it was once marshland, and that by 2100 it may become submerged underwater again due to rising sea levels. While the grand façade of Tate’s Millbank entrance was designed to convey power and longevity, Hardy imagines its destruction and highlights its fragility to deliver a very important message to us this Christmas.

👉 Don’t forget to check out our guide to awesome art exhibitions in London right now!