New Museum Piece Shows Viewers Total Blackness

Miroslaw Balka's How It Is , at the Tate Modern, displays the void
By Nick McMaster,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 12, 2009 3:05 PM CDT
The Thames-facing facade of the Tate Modern gallery, May 14, 2008, in London.   (Getty Images)
camera-icon View 1 more image

(Newser) – The Tate Modern's latest installation is an enormous steel container—100 feet long, 43 feet high, and 30 feet wide—that envelops visitors in total darkness upon entering. How It Is, by Polish artist Miroslaw Balka, is lined with a suede-like material that is 10 times darker than black paint. Named after a Samuel Beckett novel, the piece should be seen as being about everything and nothing, Balka says.

Balka himself uses the work as a space for quiet contemplation and says he hopes others will do the same. Upon entering the completed structure, after working on it for a year, the artist simply said: "Whoa. It works," the Guardian reports. Flashlight-wielding attendants will be making the rounds to make sure museumgoers don't run into any trouble in the dark.