The Turbine Hall at Tate Modern in London must be the world’s largest exhibition space. Measuring 155 metres long by 23 wide, it is also a mind-blowing 35 metres in height. For an artist to occupy this space is a daunting task indeed. The first work commissioned for the Turbine Hall was Louise Bourgeois’s I Do, I Undo, I Redo in the year 2000. It comprised three steel towers 9 metres tall that visitors could climb and which Bourgeois hoped would become spaces where strangers would enjoy “intimate and revelatory encounters”. The commission included her famous gigantic spider, made for the opening of Tate Modern.
Other artists that have accepted the challenge include some of the world’s top names, Anish Kapoor, Ai Weiwei, Carsten Höller and Olafur Eliasson among them. This year it is the turn of the Danish art collective Superflex. Their approach has been to turn the space into a playground for adults, with the intention that people will have fun, lay aside their inhibitions and meet one another. The exhibition is called One Two Three Swing!, after some of the elements in the show, 22 three-person swings.
The exhibition is divided into three sections that represent respectively apathy, production and movement. The floor is covered with a colourful striped carpet that is also very comfortable, to allow the less active to rest on the floor while watching a giant mirrored ball swing above them, offering a hypnotic reflection of the striped carpet. The 22 three-person swings can be operated alone but why would you want to? “Swinging as three, our collective energy resists gravity and challenges the laws of nature. If we all swing at the same time, can we change how the Earth spins?” ask the artists.
As the Guardian reports, there is more to it than just playfulness. The project’s curator Donald Hyslop commented “There are lots of layers and one of these is just elemental, for children of all ages. When you get on that swing […] you immediately reboot”.
The show offers the “antidote to apathy”, “collective movement and collective action”. If you want fun as well as an art experience, then head to the Turbine Hall. The Superflex exhibition will remain open until 2 April 2018.