Tate Modern: From oil tanks to sleek art space

Reuters
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London's Tate Modern - a towering, menacing bastion of industrial design that was once a power station.

It then re-emerged as one of the world's most important art museums.

Now, part of the underbelly of this famous riverside landmark is being re-launched, with a new space dedicated to live performance art and installations, called "The Tanks".

Internationally celebrated architects Herzog & de Meuron were given the challenge of transforming the underground oil tanks into a sleek exhibition space.

Tate Modern's Director Chris Dercon.

SOUNDBITE: (English) Director, Tate Modern, Chris Dercon, saying:

"What makes the tanks unique is that it's neither a white cube or a black box, it's not a theatre but it's not a laboratorium either. It's something completely new and it will challenge artists to make new work."

South Korean artist Sung Hwan Kim was amongst the first to be commissioned.

His piece "Temper Clay", focuses on the theme of property, by juxtaposing film of his parents' modern apartment with their countryside home.

SOUNDBITE: South Korean Artist Sung Hwan Kim, saying (English):

"At first, yeah it was unbelievable, because you expect some other artist to be part of the Tate Modern commission, I mean that's how I thought, but maybe I um, but at the same time it was not just about, I was thinking about the context what does it mean to show, because a lot of the exhibition that I have not so many people see it."

The conversion costs 336 million (U.S.) dollars (215 million GBP), which will see a new building added to the museum, helping to expand its size by 60 percent.

The Tanks at the Tate will be open on Wednesday (July 18).

Cindy Martin, Reuters

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