Tate Modern Mondays

Something that has been rather intriguing over the last couple of weeks is discovering that there are lots of other people 👩👧👦 who are also not at work.  Some are unemployed and having some time out (Rich when are we going to visit Kenwood House 🏤), others are working part time in order to pursue their real passion (Nina 🎨 let’s hang out soon), some are starting companies (George we must have lunch 🌳), and others who just have some time off in-between jobs.  It feels like many people have been working for a while now – I graduated 🎓 4 years ago – (gap year + 4 year course, very indulgent), but I have friends my age who finished university 6 years ago.  And perhaps not everyone is that satisfied with work as they know it so far, and are beginning to get itchy feet 🏃and look into different options – YOLO and all that.  (I do also have some very successful friends who are almost high-flying, usually in more conventional careers, whom I am always very impressed by.)

Yesterday I spent the day with Hee Yon 👧, which was marvellous.  Hee Yon has a couple of weeks off in-between jobs, and yesterday was her first weekday off – such a novelty.  We spent almost the whole day together which was very good.

We met at the Tate Modern 🎨 and went to see the Alexander Calder 🎋exhibition.  I got a little over excited by Alexander Calder and his mobiles 🎋so have written some things about him at the end of this post – but definitely do go see it, I think I may go again, it was super.

Having successfully achieved the cultural part of our itinerary – Hee Yon and I spent the rest of the day eating 🍛, drinking 🍷, eating 🍪 some more and trying not to be blown away by storm Imogen ⚡️ – we were almost certain an apocalypse was taking place, and no one had informed us – the wind ☁️was just MAD.

Hee Yon knows a lot about food 🍰, and whilst she has some time off is taking Cordon-Bleu’s bread making course 🍞which I think is amazing.  I certainly don’t do enough of making things from scratch, and she is learning how to make all sorts of bread 🍞and she has previously taken the pastry course 🍩😄.  Anyway, she is very good at food 🍧(definitely have a look at her instagram @heeyoncho) – and she chose José Tapas Bar on Bermondsey Street for lunch 🍝🍤🍢.  This is a lovely little place, usually packed full after work, but we practically had the place to ourselves for lunch.  The tapas was very yummy indeed, I really enjoyed the fried Monte Enebro goat’s cheese with orange blossom honey (or queso de cabra y miel) 🍮 👌.

After lunch and 10 minutes battling our way through storm Imogen ⚡️☁️, we decided we deserved a coffee ☕️ – so had some nice flat whites  ☕️☕️and a brownie 🍫to share, in Monmouth, in Borough Market.  I now seem to spend a lot of my time rearranging peoples food 🍧and drink 🍷, so I am able to take nice photographs 📷of it (thank you EVERYONE for being so patient) – Hee Yon indulged me in this, whilst also taking some nice snaps of me taking photos 😉😳☺️📷

Then we visited the Barbican 🏯estate.  I have been to the Barbican estate 🏯 once before – and it really is one of the strangest places, particularly when you come across it by accident.  It’s right next to all those skyscrapers 🏰in the city, but once you are on the high walk 🎢and have made it to the centre, you discover a weird concrete oasis (it’s Brutalist architecture apparently)🏯, completely lost in time – it arrived in the 1960s, due to the area being devastated by bombs  during World War II .  I went to Lanzarote a couple of years ago, and it reminded me of the houses carved into the volcanic rock 🗻 – large slabs of concrete at all angles, surround a fountain and an oblong pond ⛲️, and terraces with greenery 🌿, and flats 🏠peer down onto this central area.  It really is strange, but I do like it, and it’s quite amazing if you live there – you have the Barbican Centre 🏯, there is a church ⛪️and schools 🏤, there are even post boxes 💌 on the high walk.  You could probably never leave the estate if you didn’t feel inclined, and I bet there are people that don’t stray far.  The glass walls of the city of London 🏬 will just keep growing up around it, and one day it will become a long forgotten utopia ⛲️…. ok too far – but do go have a look next time you are near by 😉.

Hee Yon and I ended our day with some tea ☕️ in the Barbican Cafe, and then it was home time – thank you for such a fun day out! 😊

Alice xxx

Hey Calder
Thanks for the warning Tate Modern
Much needed
Photo of photo taking – and tapas, photo taken by @heeyoncho
Time for a coffee, thanks Monmouth, photo by @heeyoncho
Tea time at the Barbican 😄

A bit about the Tate Modern and then Alexander Calder 🎋:

I love the Tate Modern a lot – mainly because of the Turbine Hall, which really is magnificent.  Currently on show in the Turbine Hall, is an exhibition by Abraham Cruzvillegas called Empty Lot.  Abraham has filled ‘triangular wooden planters’ (wooden boxes in triangular shapes) with soil from parks all across London.  Nothing has actually been planted in the soil, they are just letting whatever was already in there, grow.  So it is constantly changing and the Turbine Hall is essentially filled with many weeds.  ‘The unpredictable nature of the work…provokes questions about the city and nature, as well as wider ideas of chance, change, and hope’ – waffle maybe, but I like the idea.

Alexander Calder: Performing Sculpture was really rather fun – Calder turns out to have been a mechanical engineer and Hee Yon studied engineering so this was nice.  I also like it when an artist has a specific skill other than drawing – engineer, then artist, adding an extra dimension to his craft.

Calder is essentially a sculptor, and is best known for his ‘mobiles’ – many of his works hang from the ceiling rather than standing on plinths.  He mainly uses wire and sheet metal – and most of his works are created with an element of movement.  A few of his sculptures have a small motor, but most are ‘free moving’ such as the mobiles.  The solar system and the universe are a strong influence in his work.  You certainly see that in his mobiles – a wire suspended from the ceiling, with small pieces of sheet metal at the end of each adjacent wire –  each piece of metal is a separate entity, but it’s movement relies on the mobile as a whole.  Later on his sculptures become less geometrically arranged and more inspired by nature – names change from ‘Constellation’ to ‘Snow Flurry II’.

Early critics defined his sculptures as ‘drawing in space’ which I really like.  The sculptures featured in the exhibition date from 1930s and the early 1940s.  We enjoyed the wire sculptures the most (I hadn’t been aware of these), there is a rather lovely elephant and a leopard, and I liked ‘Le Lanceur de Poids’, who really does look like he has just thrown a shot-put.  The wire ‘portraits’ are fun, Joan Miro and Fernand Leger are both there, and they have been suspended from the ceiling and lit in such a way, that the reflection creates another portrait against the wall.  I really liked a rather sweet dog made primarily from a clothes peg.  The ink on paper drawings were rather satisfying, some black dots of varying sizes on white backgrounds.  And there are many mobiles.  We were less keen on the early colourful abstract ones and more keen on the later, more refined and elegant works, in particular ‘Nineteen White Discs’.  The other fascinating piece, not displayed, but talked about – was a fountain Calder created for the Spanish Republican government for the 1937 World Exhibition in Paris.  The fountain runs with mercury, rather than water – it is a memorial to the siege of Almaden by Franco’s troops, which at the time supplied 60% of the world’s mercury – it is a counterpart to Picasso’s ‘Guernica‘.

No photos were allowed – but do go and see the exhibition, there is lots to find out about – and pictures just do not do the sculptures justice, you need see the mobiles suspended from the ceiling, slowly moving, whichever way they will.

Weeds growing in the Turbine Hall
Calder dog – postcard
Alexander Calder in the gift shop – you must go see it!


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