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Sixth Form Trip to the Tate Modern and the Courtauld Institute of Art

Published on 06/06/23

Students Katie and Dasha share their thoughts on the trip to the Tate Modern and the Courtauld Institute of Art in London.

Katie said: “Starting a new project consists of an endless search for inspiration. As a class we started this process by visiting the Tate Modern and Courtauld exhibitions. As art students we aim to seek out pieces that speak to us individually. The vast variation of styles, art eras, techniques and concepts between the two exhibitions allowed everyone to find something to inspire and start a flurry of new ideas for the project.

Our title, ‘Simple or Complex’, was displayed perfectly in the two galleries. We saw, analysed and experienced both types of work. The Tate Modern consisted mainly of the more simple compositions yet complex concepts, contrasting to the overwhelming complexity of every piece within the Courtauld.

The trip enabled the class to understand new techniques and ways of showing complex ideas. One piece that stuck with me was the Babel by Brazilian artist Cildo Meirele. This installation presents a large tower of second hand radios to represent the biblical story of a tower tall enough to reach heaven, god became offended and cursed the builders to only speak in tongues. The tower of radios are played at a low level which makes the tower seem as if it is speaking in tongues. It showed me that a complicated and intense idea can be represented by a physically simple construction and composition.”

Dasha said: “What I particularly enjoyed about the trip was the striking contrast between the nature of art in the two galleries. The Tate Modern had greater focus on more contemporary works while the Courtauld houses more traditional art.

I also found the visit a perfect opportunity to discover new artists and art styles. I noticed that some of the artworks which I was particularly drawn to were ones I would not normally use for inspiration and often by artists who I hadn’t previously heard of. Finding new inspiration is very useful when starting a new project and often difficult to do without the exposure to new art which you get through gallery visits.

In addition to this, seeing art up close and in person allows you to see the techniques used to achieve them. This is particularly useful in understanding how artists use brush strokes in paintings, for example. Overall, the trip proved to be a useful and enlightening experience in terms of gathering inspiration.”

Stephen Perse Sixth Form Open Evening – 12 October. Click here and book your place.