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Adventure, Art and Artisanal Cocktails: Tate Date Day

It’s not than the we find ourselves and the softly with not much planned, and this Saturday was not one of them! We had a date day starting with an escape room, and culminating in celebrating a friend’s birthday, with some art and cocktails in between…what more could you want!

Escape Room: Handmade Mysteries – Operation Mindfall

All for an escape room, this time Jess did it with a group of ladies. This one was one with a difference. On a mission to save London from being poisoned, we had to work as a team solving clues around Bermondsey and the surrounding areas to see if we could save it. Working for WISE we travelled around with the most amazing gadgets and were led by an ipad with some amazing AR technology built in. A few hazards along the way, and we were sure we were being followed by a man in a teal t-shirt; we needed almost every skill you could think you would need for an escape room: logic, maths, geography and the rest! Although the Handmade Mysteries website says that the escape room is 90minutes, you’re given just over 2 hours from meeting your agent, getting your instructions, and setting off on your way, so don’t time things in earlier than 150minutes after your start time. Oh and the shirts? Well, we were given the offer of going undercover, so why not!

Tate Modern: TANIA BRUGUERA: 10,143,645

There until the 24th February 2019, the Turbine Hall has once again been transformed. The acclaimed Cuban artist and activist Tania Bruguera has created a series of subtle interventions in and around Tate Modern. The work’s title is an ever-increasing figure: the number of people who migrated from one country to another last year added to the number of migrant deaths recorded so far this year – to indicate the sheer scale of mass migration and the risks involved. The manifesto of the “Tate neighbours” – a group of people that live in the same postcode of the Tate appears when you log into the WiFi, and in the Turbine Hall is a large heat-sensitive floor. By using your body heat and working together with other visitors, you can reveal a hidden portrait of Yousef, a young man who left Syria to come to London. Meanwhile, a low-frequency sound fills the space with an unsettling energy. In a small room nearby, an organic compound in the air induces tears and provokes what the artist describes as ‘forced empathy’. Something that we had fun with, and it wasn’t until we read further about it that we realised the powerful message behind it.

Tate Modern: The Shape of Light

Neither of us were sure what to expect with this exhibition, which is good, because it wasn’t what either of us imagined. Once again we rocked the lovely discount afforded to us by out National Art Passes and prepared ourselves for our minds to be blown. There are some amazing pieces in there – it’s always great to see Mondrians and Kandinskys, especially alongside other lesser known (in our uneducated minds) artists, and see the parallels in their work and read how they were inspired, be it by time, place, society or technology.

It spanned work from 1910 up to 2018, and showed the parallels between abstract art and photography. Seeing Bridget Reilly alongside Man Ray was something that needed some excellent curation, and it worked well. You do have to be in the right mood for this though – there is a lot of minimalism, a lot of reading and a lot of black and white. Not that any of that is a bad thing, more that the things you want to read to explain the relationships between them is small and hidden, and often lumped together at one end – meaning that it is difficult to read when the exhibition is so wonderfully busy and popular.

Tate Modern: Magic Realism: Art in Weimar Germany 1919-1933

Billed as “a small selection of key Tate works returned to the context in which they were originally created and exhibited nearly one hundred years ago”, this year long exhibition celebrates some of the great German artists of the time, including Otto Dix, George Grosz, Albert Birkle and Jeanne Mammen. Magic Realism as a term, was inherited from the artist and critic Franz Roh who invented it in 1925 to describe a shift from the art of the expressionist era, towards cold veracity and unsettling imagery. In the context of growing political extremism, the new realism reflected a fluid social experience as well as inner worlds of emotion and magic.

Beautifully displayed and well explained, these pieces show an insight into a world post-World War 1, post monarchy in a new Republic, where resentment and living standards were changing drastically. Themed and well displayed, the only faults we had with it is that it seemed to stop in 1928 pre-depression, and rise of the Nazis, and after Room 5 it comes to an abrupt end. A real shame as we wanted to see more, but dont let that stop you going to see what is there – it’s amazing!

Cocktails: Dandelyan at the Mondrian

We struggle justifying nice, expensive things, but when the bar down the road from where you are is voted Number 1 in the top 50 bars in the world, it would be rude not to try it out. Their high standards, incredible decor and great service show why it was voted as such. Looking out to London’s South Bank and St Paul’s Cathedral, Dandelyan is the bar of Mondrian London and the creative work of bartending pioneers Ryan Chetiyawardana and Iain Griffiths. It manages to be high-end but accessible – trendy pink, green and gold décor, relaxed but emotionally intelligent service and cocktails that make you think. They’re on the second (and final) installment of The Modern Life of Plants menu, sees the deep-digging team embark on a liquid exploration of the human adaptation of plant and animal life in food systems. It’s a complicated sustainability premise distilled into three chapters: mint, grapes and hops – three of the most commonly associated ingredients to alcoholic drinks. You’ll see the likes of moss vermouth, pigweed and cream of snails feature – but don’t wince. Just get down quickly as they have announced their closure, but if you can, book in advance for a great table – we just happened to be lucky!

Food: Byron Burger Waterloo

There is something about blogging that always means we have reservations of being totally honest if something wasn’t brilliant, but that’s something we have to learn to get over. So we walked towards Waterloo (have you seen our posts on the amazing bars in the area?), And saw that a brand new Honest burger had opened…but it was the soft launch so no tables, so we went next door to Byron, normally pretty good but not this time. Busy, understaffed and overselling for something they couldn’t actually do, we weren’t the most satisfied with our trip to Byron this time.

From the burger we got the bus to Bethnal Green. There is something about getting the bus when you can have the top front seat, and you see bits of London you wouldn’t normally see if you were walking or on the tube! What a way to end our day, our beautiful friend Leah celebrating her 28th year on this earth, with drinks and good company.