On the 17th of June, the long awaited new Tate building will be opened to the public. Like a lot of the new impactful buildings in London, it has a strange architecture. And that’s putting it nicely. The distorted pyramid of a gallery brings the Tate modern gallery up to the standard of the more conceptual styles of building that are already in the city. For that reason, there’s no getting around that the building will attract attention from tourists and from curious faces living in the city.
The building is also quite exposing; it almost predicts the atmosphere for exhibitions that are going on in the summer. The abstract structure of the building brings it close to other interesting buildings from around the world such as the SESC Pompeia, and makes the Tate much more of an international building. That globalised view of art is something that is defining about this summer in art. The South London Gallery is holding an exhibition called ‘Under the Same Sun: Art from Latin America Today’ that will look at the way that Latin Americans have documented and interpreted their lives in the art that they create. The exhibition platforms London as the host of the international spirit of art. A similar interpretation of London can be found this summer in the Serpentine Gallery. It holds portraits from the gifted painter Alex Katz that focus once again on the global use and popularity of London. The exhibitions also takes a moment to look deeper into the purpose of abstract pieces of art. The summer in London is set to be a bustling and energetic one.
The summer atmosphere of London doesn’t end there either. The themes that are covered this year seem to be endless. Contrasting the internationality of the new Tate building, some exhibitions are preferring to show off locality. In Shoreditch the Howard Griffin Gallery is hosting an exhibition all summer on the work of Thierry Noir, whose signature simplicity of style has been copied and replicated on train station walls all over the city and acts as an homage more than a projection of what is being made right now in the city. The contrast between what galleries like the Howard Griffin are doing in comparison with larger galleries such as the Tate modern is interesting. Rather than conflicting though, the contrast seems to help to curate the summer atmosphere. The John Martin Gallery for example is holding an exhibition this summer called The Garden of Opposites, which is another exhibition that features portraits and paintings, this time from the artist Martin Finnin. It is much more a focus on macro themes and the way that our eyes see and process colours, forms and shapes when they are put together almost chaotically.
Whilst there are conflicts within the exhibitions and definitely different shades of colour in their meaning, what remains true for all of them is that they have colour. Putting aside the popularity, money and power that London has when it comes to art, what is never lost in the pieces is the vibrancy that they bring to the city. That is true for all art too, whether it comes from Thierry Noir, Carlos Amorale or from the Tate modern, all of it has a contrast that isn’t to be looked down on.
Words: Ben Duncan Photo:Courtesy Twitter