Tate Britain this week unveiled the results of a £45 million renovation. The works have restored the oldest section of the gallery and enabled the reopening of the entrance facing out onto the Thames.
Combining excavation work of the original architecture with new elements Tate Britain hopes to restore ‘the historical logic’ of the building cohesive with the new additions. As well as a grand spiral staircase the new features include works by important names in contemporary British art and design such as Richard Wright, Nicole Wermers and Alan Johnston.
Johnston was responsible for the decoration of the Djanogly café ceiling; an intricate working of lines in pencil that required 8 assistants working on their backs for 10 hours a day for 2 weeks. The artist wanted to create a ‘linear tonal ambivalence’ with a surface tone that shifts subtly depending on the distance of the viewer. The end effect is understated and quietly beguiling.
The renovation, which was in part paid for by the Heritage Lottery Fund, follows the opening of 10 new galleries within the building in May. Penelope Curtis, Director of Tate Britain, believes that these latest renovations will ‘reassert and enhance the original grandeur and logic’ of the gallery space.