The huge industrial cylinders previously held oil that fuelled the turbines of the former power station, but have lain empty since the building was decommissioned in 1981 and later converted into a gallery.
The eastern tank reopens with an exhibition of light and movie projection by Korean artist Sung Hwan Kim, while the southern tank is hosting an ongoing programme of performance art and the western tank has been subdivided into dressing rooms and other ancillary spaces.
Glass doors lead visitors through from the turbine hall into the cylinders, where the raw concrete structure is left exposed.
The Tanks are the first phase in the construction of a new wing at the gallery, scheduled to complete in 2016 - see images in our earlier story.
Herzog & de Meuron also collaborated with Ai Weiwei on the design of the Serpentine Gallery, which is currently open in London's Kensington Gardens. See images here or watch the tour we filmed with Jacques Herzog here.
Photography is by Tate Photography.
Here's some more information about The Tanks:
New Tate Modern Tanks Open to the Public
A new commission by Korean artist Sung Hwan Kim was unveiled today in The Tanks at Tate Modern. This major new work is the first installation to be created especially in The Tanks, the world’s first museum galleries permanently dedicated to exhibiting live art, performance, installation and film works. In Kim’s work, visitors are plunged into a fantastical world of optical illusions that draws on a rich history of performance and film. The commission for the Maja Hoffmann/Luma Foundation Tank is supported by Sotheby’s and runs from 18 July to 28 October. The launch is part of the London 2012 Festival, the culmination of the Cultural Olympiad.
The Tanks are the first phase of the Tate Modern Project, which is being made possible by a number of significant donations from public funders and foundations including a £50m investment from the Government, £7m from the Greater London Authority, an important donation from the Blavatnik Family Foundation and generous gifts from The Deborah Loeb Brice Foundation and The Dr Mortimer and Theresa Sackler Foundation.
On the occasion of the opening of The Tanks, Tate has announced a group of major individual donations. These include gifts to support The Tanks, new galleries, learning spaces and other areas of the new building. The donors include a number of Tate’s current and former Trustees among them Lord Browne, Mala Gaonkar, Maja Hoffmann, Elisabeth Murdoch, Franck Petitgas and John Studzinski as well as other individual donors including Christina and John Chandris, James Chanos, Ago Demirdjian and Tiqui Atencio Demirdjian, George Economou, Lydia and Manfred Gorvy, Noam Gottesman, Catherine Lagrange, Pierre Lagrange, Allison and Howard W. Lutnick, Barrie and Emmanuel Roman and others who wish to remain anonymous.
The generosity of early donors to this phase, Maja Hoffmann and John Studzinski, is recognised through The Maja Hoffmann/Luma Foundation Tank and The Studzinski Galleries.
Tate Members have also supported the project and altogether over three quarters of the total capital costs of £215 million has been raised.
Art in Action, a fifteen-week festival celebrating performance, film and installation and the historical works that have shaped these art forms, will run in The Tanks until 28 October. The festival allows audiences to explore new developments in art practice and learning, see bold new work being developed by artists, and engage more deeply with the programme. The Tanks are raw, industrial spaces which provide an anchor and home for the live art and film programmes which have previously been presented in diverse spaces around Tate Modern.
A rolling series of projects will take place in the southern Tank addressing the history of performance, film and interdisciplinary work alongside new work. The renowned choreographer Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker has worked with visual artist Ann Veronica Janssens to adapt Fase: Four Movements to the Music of Steve Reich 1982 to be the first performance staged in The Tanks. Two recent acquisitions to Tate’s collection also go on display for the first time: Suzanne Lacy’s The Crystal Quilt 1985-87 and Lis Rhodes’ Light Music 1975. From the 16th to the 27th August The Tanks will also host Undercurrent, a programme specially created by and for young people involving sound, performance, film and the digital. In addition to three major symposia, Art in Action will include interventions and participatory events for visitors of all ages. The opening programme is supported by The Tanks Supporters Group.
Over 40 established and emerging artists from around the world are taking part in Art in Action, including Ei Arakawa (Japan), Jelili Atiku (Nigeria), Nina Beier (Denmark), Tania Bruguera (Cuba), Boris Charmatz (France), Keren Cytter (Israel), Tina Keane (UK), Anne Teresa De Keersmaeker (Belgium), Liu Ding (China), Jeff Keen (UK), Anthea Hamilton (UK), Sung Hwan Kim (Korea), Rabih Mroué (Lebanon), Eddie Peake (UK), Yvonne Rainer (US), Lis Rhodes (UK), Aura Satz (UK), Patrick Staff (UK), Aldo Tambellini (US), Kerry Tribe (US) and Haegue Yang (Korea).
The new development, by internationally celebrated architects Herzog & de Meuron, will create a spectacular new building adjoining Tate Modern to the south. This will be Britain’s most important new building for culture since the creation of the British Library in 1998. The new building will increase Tate Modern’s size by 60%, provide more space for contemporary art and enable Tate to explore new areas of visual culture involving photography, film, video and performance, enriching its current programme for a broader audience.
The first phase of the new development begins with the opening of Tate Modern’s spectacular Tanks dedicated to exhibiting live art, performance, installation and film works. These massive industrial chambers have lain unused since Bankside Power Station was decommissioned in 1981. They have now being transformed into some of the most exciting new spaces for art in the world.
The opening programme for The Tanks is curated by Catherine Wood, Curator of Contemporary Art and Performance, Kathy Noble, Curator of Interdisciplinary Projects and Stuart Comer, Curator of Film in collaboration with Learning colleagues including Marko Daniel, Convenor (Adult Programmes) and Mark Miller, Convenor (Young People’s Programmes).