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Surrealism - Tate Modern

Updated: Feb 16, 2020

I visited Tate Modern, the international modern and contemporary art museum in London. I researched and found examples of the following themes; futurism, constructivism, modernism, post- modernism, surrealist object and Vorticism.





Figure 1: Ishi's Light 2003 - Anish Kapoor

The sculpture is named after Anish’s son Ishan and refers to Anna’s Light (1968) by Barrett Newman. Kapoor, in this futuristic sculpture uses saturated colours and contrasting materials that reflects light, different sounds and a mirrored effect of a person standing inside. The designer aimed to change the viewer’s sense of space and the experience when inside. The way that I see this is that the structure has a way of reflecting the given experience in a different way with space and the environment inside.


Figure 2: Composition B ( No 11) with Red 1935

Piet Mondrian :Modernism, no symmetry


The artist reduced his colour to a single red rectangle, giving more significance to the asymmetric black lines than the compositional elements. He created a “false ease “in symmetry where modernist movement has created mostly as a thought and making process. “The dynamic equilibrium of true life”. The use of colours, their harmony and the disturbance of the piece not being symmetrical gives it a modernist taste.



Figure 3: Emak Bakia 1926, remade 1970 Man Ray


Emak Bakia is a surrealist object, a horse hair stuck to the neck of a cello. The humorously built sculpture creates an uncanny experience and a surrealistic approach to the subject. The hair gives the piece a disconcerting vitality.




Figure 1: Stack 1977 - Tony Cragg


Stack, is one of the greatest examples of a constructivist object found in Tate modern.

Cragg, has created materials packed tightly together to form a solid cube. Geometrical indefinite structure is stacked with plastic, magazines, bricks, paper, textile, cardboard, concrete, brick, metal and so on. The project aims to show the long – forgotten rubbish.  He identifies his idea with key themes in his work in relation to the natural world and humankind's impact on nature.


Figure 2: The building itself, I thought looked very modern with monographic colour scale of black, yellow and white. Stairs are well made, no curves and no exaggeration. Very simple stairs, walls that relates to modernist buildings. The beauty of the building comes from the simple forms and lots of empty spaces that can have different experiences and meaning to viewers.


Figure 3: Pavilion 2016 - Monika Susnowska


This interesting, yet dangerous looking uncanny sculpture, represents the constructivist art movement. Susnowska’s pavilion echoes the metal gardens, retail spaces and cultural centre in Poland. The latticework (of the original shopping mall) has been distorted, collapsed and fragmented into a functionless architectural piece. The aim in this pavilion is to make the work “openly” so people can have opportunities to create their own environments within the experience in the pavilion. The idea represents the destruction of post-communist Poland’s unwanted modernist buildings.


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