Have fun amongst the balloons in the Tate St Ives exhibition

Julie Chamberlain amongst the balloons in St Ives
IF you’re lucky enough to be in Cornwall this summer then don’t miss a truly hair-raising exhibition at the Tate St Ives.
The gallery is showing a series of independent one-room displays from different eras, concentrating on the theme of space, structure and light.


Two are sure to be popular with the kids – and the big kids – amongst us. Martin Creed has half filled the Lower Gallery 2, a semi-circular gallery looking out to Porthmeor beach with thousands of white balloons. Called Half the Air in a Given Space it cleverly gives shape to something that doesn’t usually have a shape. And the best thing is as well as just looking at it from the upper gallery you can go in amongst the balloons.

Portmeor beach through the balloons
They’re surprisingly hard to walk through and it’s quite claustrophobic as they are several balloons deep above your head, meaning you have to punch them out of the way – which is also fun, and makes your hair stand up with static. There’s the occasional burst one of course – but the kids in particular seemed to love it.
In another gallery, pleasant gallery assistants offer to measure you, and draw a line on the wall above your head, alongside your name and the date, in a work by Roman Ondak. A thick line has developed around the gallery by now but it’s fun to become part of the art work.
The works in other rooms include collages made by Margaret Mellis in St Ives and larger wooden assemblages made when she moved to Southwold. It’s an interesting exhibition by one of the more overlooked St Ives artists who died aged 95 in 2009. Another room focuses on sculptural works and prototypes by Naum Gabo, plus interesting photos from his time in the area.
The exhibition continues until September 25 and is worth a visit if you’re in the area.

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