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Throwing Light on Modern Art

Home > London > Architecture | Art | Day Trips | Escape the City
by Karen Grikitis (subscribe)
I am a former journalist and editor, currently writing fiction for adults and children. Visit my website at
Published September 14th 2014
The magic of Turner Contemporary
art gallery,Turner Contemporary,Margate
Skying at Turner Contemporary
Skying, reputedly one of the painter Constable's favourite pastimes, is a simple pleasure, involving lying on your back in the open air and looking up at the changing patterns of the clouds. You don't have to be outdoors to do it either, as you can go along to Turner Contemporary in Margate and gaze up at Edmund de Waal's installation 'Atmosphere', suspended from the ceiling of its lofty Sunley Gallery.

Thirty feet above you, small ceramic pots cluster together, encased in clear and opaque cabinets, mimicking cloud formations, against a backdrop of endless whiteness. Mats are provided to ensure the hardness of the floor does not mar your experience.

art gallery,Turner Contemporary,Margate
Krijn de Konig's 'Dwelling' at Turner Contemporary
If you would rather look at the real thing, all you need do is stand up and take in the seascape through the gallery's gargantuan windows.

Opened in April 2011, and designed by architect, David Chipperfield, Turner Contemporary is a work of art in itself. Its stunning architectural form displays clean lines and expansive horizontal and vertical spaces, flooded with light. It takes its name from the famous landscape painter, J.M.W. Turner, who went to school in Margate and was a frequent visitor.

art gallery,Turner Contemporary,Margate
Tea room at Turner Contemporary
De Waal's work, which is on display until 8th February 2015, is only one of a number of marvellous temporary exhibitions and events for you to enjoy at this iconic landmark on Margate's seafront.

Current exhibitions include American artist Spencer Finch's ' The skies can't keep their secrets' and Krijn de Konig's 'Dwelling', while forthcoming shows include Jeremy Keller's 'English Magic' starting in October and John Downton Display from December.

art gallery,Turner Contemporary,Margate
Turner Contemporary, Margate
The gallery isn't as big as Tate Modern, giving you plenty of time to contemplate the works of art and soak up the atmosphere. If you feel in need of a break, there is an excellent café with a view of the sea, serving light refreshments and lunch, or if you fancy, you can browse the shop.

The gallery also runs various educational programmes for local youngsters, such as the Youth Navigation project, which trains young people to be gallery guides for primary school visits, and encourages them to explore new ideas, learn independently and think critically.

All exhibitions are free but visitors are encouraged to donate as Turner Contemporary is run by a charity and all donations are match-funded by the Catalyst Endowment Fund.

Margate is a one hour train ride from St.Pancras station and you can spot Turner Contemporary almost as soon as you step out of the station, its twin rhombic profile easily recognisable in the distance, about 12 minutes' walk away.

If you want to make a day of it in Margate, you can take a walking tour of the old part of town, with its vintage shops and quirky tea rooms, or have fish and chips and ice-cream on the seafront.
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Why? Fantastic modern art gallery by the seaside
When: Tues - Sun, 10am - 6pm
Phone: 01843 233000
Where: Rendezvous Margate Kent CT9 1HG
Cost: Free but donations welcome
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