A new installation in Tate Modern’s giant Turbine Hall features airborne fish and a sound and light show influenced by the weather and a yeast colony. ‘Anywhen’ is the latest attention-grabbing exhibition to fill the main hall at the heart of Tate Modern, on London’s South Bank.
French artist Philippe Parreno told the BBC that his artwork “plays with time and space”. A shoal of helium-filled silver fish float around the massive interior of the Turbine Hall to music played by overhead speakers. The soundtrack mixes industrial rock with sounds piped in from microphones outside the gallery – which might mean buskers, traffic or random conversations. The lights, sound and moving elements are controlled by a number of inputs including a weather monitor and a bio reactor that contains a yeast colony. There’s also a giant video screen showing a cuttlefish and a ventriloquist, and spectators can lie on a massive carpet on the floor to take it all in.
Parreno told the Guardian that visitors might feel as though they were in a park – they could contemplate the space around them, or throw one of the fish in the air. “We have a lot of stuff,” he said. “There may be a pattern after some time, but at the moment, it is quite random. There is no authority in the way you look at art here. It is not like cinema where you have a structure which takes you from one place to another.” The Tate Modern, a former power station, is one of the most popular art galleries in the world, and is visited by around five million people a year. It recently expanded with a new wing, Switch House, which has increased its size by 60%. The Turbine Hall has a reputation for hosting quirky and ambitious projects. Recent exhibitions have seen it covered in thousands of porcelain sunflower seeds, scarred by a massive crack and filled with flowerbeds containing earth from London parks.