Last Friday of every month
Free Admission to main gallery
It is safe to say that there is no museum in London as vibrant and ever-changing as the Tate Modern, situated on the Bankside and always busy with tourists and Londoners alike. But there are nights in which the museum comes to life even more than it usually does - the Uniqlo Tate Lates, which take place every last Friday of every month. This October, the programme was inspired by the Hyundai Commission: SUPERFLEX - One Two Three Swing! installation which occupies the entirety of the famous Turbine Hall.
While DJs selected by NTS radio animated various floors with their music, different workshops took place in the Blavatnik Building. Although this Tate Late night had no specifically themed title, as the anniversary of its conception, it was hard to miss the connection between different activities. Inspired by the Dadaist movement, every workshop encouraged participants to create work of arts characterised by the altering of different forms and shapes, starting from already existing ones.
Going from the new Yoko Ono’s Mend Piece - where she asks visitors to try and put back together broken cups and plates with only scissors and tape - to the Juneau Project’s DIY-styled print production, where different moulds could be used to decorate your own print; the Tate Modern invited visitors to think about new forms of expressions that can arise from broken or ready-made objects and styles. Shapes and words paired together in the the Common Initiative’s workshop, Words That Shout, where participants used collage techniques to create posters with powerful slogans. All artworks created during the different activities were then displayed for everyone to see, bringing together different ideas and forms of expressions.
Workshops and activities were also paired with performances that brought participants back to the role of spectators - though active ones, still engaged with the creative process behind the installations. The Hypnotic Art Tour involved a soundtrack guiding visitors through the exhibition - focusing on issues of form and performance, and the body as performance.This month, the Tate also paired up with Kaputt: The Academy of Destruction: aside from arranging weekly workshops, on the Tate Late night Kaputt organised a conversation with grime artist Karnage Kills, followed by a performance. The artist, a gay black man who describes himself as femme, talked about what it means to be queer in such an hyper-masculine music field. He invited spectators to think about destroying gender stereotypes and expectations - and animated the room with his music and energy.
All the activities had a unique and empowering feeling to them. This October, the Tate encouraged visitors to learn how to express themselves by cutting and breaking already existing forms and shapes - pushing participants to bend rules and to express their own individuality. In the past year, the Tate has constantly proven their non-conformativity to traditional ideas of what a museum is - be it with the Tate Lates, or modern and inclusive exhibitions such as Queer British Art 1861-1967, Soul of a Nation: Art in the Age of Black Power, or the conceptual and life-size Ilya And Emilia Kabakov: Not Everyone Will Be Taken Into The Future (on until the 28th of January). Last Friday, by inviting visitors to think about breaking out of pre-established forms and shapes, the Tate explicitly presented itself as an unconventional and modern museum - as an established art gallery but also a safe space where people with non-conforming identities can fit in and express themselves. Tate Lates are always worth attending, even just for their constant commitment to thinking about their visitors’ identity and their own status as a world-leading art institution.