London – Going Southwark

One of the oldest parts of London delimited by the River Thames to the north, Southwark (its name is derived from the Anglo-Saxon Suthriganaweorc or Suthringa geweorche) is part of the London borough of the same name. This is where the Roman inscription that provides the first documentary evidence of the name London was found. Southwark, more precisely The Tabard, was the point of departure for the pilgrimage described in Geoffrey Chaucer’s “Canterbury Tales,” and during the Industrial Revolution its ample water, cheap land, and cheap labor made it a nucleus of manufacturing.

The Bankside Power Station, an enormous steel-framed, brick-clad work by Sir Giles Gilbert Scott, began converting oil into electricity in 1952 and remained in operation until 1981 – a counterfoil to St. Paul’s Cathedral across the river. In 2000, following its transformation by Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron, Bankside Power Station reopened as Tate Modern, Britain’s national gallery of international modern art. The decision to shift the center of London’s contemporary art world to the post-industrial squalor “south of the river” was to have consequences for the entire Bankside neighborhood.

The reportage was commissioned and published by DU, Zürich.

Group exhibition

Herzog & de Meuron. In Process, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis 2000