diamond geezer

 Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Most years since 2000, the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern has been filled with a whopping art project, with varying degrees of success. This year's is one of the better ones - which, given the underwhelm of the last few years, isn't difficult.

One Two Three Swing! is the brainchild of Danish art collective SUPERFLEX. They've erected a chain of swings across one end of the Turbine Hall, with three-seaters dangling throughout, and hung a giant pendulum above the other. Specifically they've created a work of art you can interact with, and share, although calling it "playfully subversive" is probably going too far.

An orange bar winds in a highly angular manner across a specially padded cork floor. At no point does it touch the ground, except at the very beginning, supported elsewhere on less vibrant grey prongs. The swings vary in height along its length, but what hangs down always has three seats, to make a point about joint action being better than going it alone.

I was expecting the installation to be rammed on the first morning of the six month run, but not so. Instead I managed to locate an empty swing almost immediately, and got to rock alone, rather than having two companions foisted upon me. I'd expect a queuing system of sorts to be in operation at more popular times like weekends.

Swinging, like riding a bike, is something you never forget how to do. It's been a while, but my legs instinctively pushed out to maximise whatever bit of physics makes this work, and tucked back on the return. It's quite liberating, swinging, which is why you enjoyed it so much when you were six.

Top tip 1 - balance yourself. If there's only you don't sit at the end, and if there's two of you leave a gap in the middle, otherwise the ride's not so smooth. Top tip 2 - it's even faster on the swings with the greatest drop, where three people can get up quite a speed if they put their minds to it. Wheee!

The orange bar winds underneath the central platform, where there's a special parent-and-baby swing complete with seat belts, if that's what you need. It breaks out into the other end of the Turbine Hall, and then nips up onto the central platform itself... where there aren't yet any swings, but expect some soon.

The sloping end of the Turbine Hall has a more relaxed vibe, with a large striped carpet covering the floor and a giant pendulum swinging above. The carpet uses the colours of British banknotes, so is striking, and is designed to be sprawled upon so you can look up at the pendulum swinging overhead. A bit of a nod there to the giant sun of 2003's Weather Project, perhaps, but fewer thrills.

And there's more. The orange pole plunges into the wall and heads outside, or at least it will once complete. At present the swirly courtyard round the back of the extension is a minor building site, with sets of poles awaiting construction, but a small annexe opposite Starbucks is already complete, with two very public swings poised over a sea of wood chippings.

It's nothing high concept, this Turbine Hall commission, more a genuine crowd pleaser. A bit like Carsten Höller's twirly slides in 2006, all SUPERFLEX have really done is bring the playground to the gallery. What'll be next here after swings, I wonder, roundabouts? Whatever, it's fun enough, so bring some friends or family before April and enjoy oscillating together.

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