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Tate Modern Trip

On Tuesday 22nd September, Miss Beaumont and Mrs O’Malley took the current art scholars on an exciting day out to the Tate Modern.

A wonderful opportunity had arisen from art scholar Honor Whiteley’s godmother, Melanie, who is a conservator at the museum, and she offered to give our scholars a private tour. Melanie provided a fascinating insight into her role, which consists of looking after the artworks and figuring out the best way to display them, and she showed and talked to us about a wide variety of pieces with which she, personally, had been working. One work that quite literally shone out to all of us was called ‘Ink Splash' by Ghanaian sculptor, El Anatsui. This was one of his metallic cloth-like wall sculptures which were created by many thousands of recycled aluminium bottle tops sewn together with copper wire. Melanie had had to decide how the cloth was to be draped, where the folds would be, and how it would be attached to the wall. We found it so inspiring that something so beautiful could be created using the medium of rubbish, and on the spot we decided that this was a concept that must be explored further back at Wellesley.

 

After our packed lunch we took a quick break and went up to the tenth storey viewing platform of the recently opened new building of The Tate Modern called The Switch House. There was a wonderful 360 degree view of the London skyline.  We also couldn’t help but marvel at the close-up view of the adjacent designer flats, which has been much commented on in the news!

In the afternoon we went to see a retrospective of over 100 remarkable paintings by the pioneer of twentieth-century art, Georgia O’Keeffe, best known for her paintings of magnified flowers, animal skulls, and New Mexico desert landscapes. This included the chance to see Weed/White Flower No. 1 1932, as can be seen here being sketched by Honor, Eleanor and Silvia. It was the most expensive painting by a female artist ever sold at auction.

 

It was an extremely interesting and inspiring day. A special thanks to Honor’s mother, Mrs Whiteley, for organising the tour with Melanie.