Tuesday, 27 February 2007

Saga of the slides - one woman's battle to ride the tubes

Art attack: Tate Modern
is the site of a new
sliding installation

Tate Modern's Unilever series has been phenomenally successful. This is a series of annual commissions sponsored by Unilever for Tate Modern's cavernous Turbine Hall. Unilever has been sponsoring these commissions since 2000, when the gallery opened, and they have generated a huge amount of interest. Olafur Eliasson, for example, had people sunbathing and picnicing in the glare of a huge 'sun' for his Weather Project installation from October 2003 to April 2004.

The latest artwork in the series is Carston Holler's Test Site: huge, tubular slides wriggle their way down from the upper floors of the gallery. Metal and clear perspex, the slides are pretty impressive simply as sculptures, but they're also interactive. According to Tate Modern's website, Holler is interested in both the 'visual aspect of watching people sliding and the inner spectacle experienced by the sliders themselves, the state of simultaneous delight and anxiety that you enter as you descend'. But more importantly, it's fun!

So, purely in the interests of research, I made my way to the gallery one Saturday a couple of weeks ago. It's free to go on the slides, but for the ones on the top floors you need a ticket. The queue to the ticket desk was huge, so I had a wander around the gallery, thinking it might quieten down. After a rather trippy hour in the newly hung Poetry and Dream room and a good few minutes walking up and down interactive installation Sliding Doors, a new acquisition for Tate Modern and also by Holler, I returned to the ticket desk. The queue was the length of the Turbine Hall. I gave up and went to Wagamama for lunch.

Watch this space for more adventures with Tate Modern slides...

Read more about Holler's commission here:
The Unilever Series: Carston Holler

1 comment:

Helen said...

I saw the slides on the telly and they did look fun :)