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Skirt of the Black Mouth

Artists Ivan and Heather Morrison re-imagine the hoarding behind Tate Modern, revealing a new public space in Bankside Urban Forest
Valerie Beirne
Bankside Urban Forest Manager
  • Skirt of the Black Mouth
October 2012
Key Partners: 
Tate Modern, Byrne Brothers, Arup, Better Bankside, Coed Cymru, Architectural Consultants EMSA, Bankside Mix - Land Securities, Elliot Thomas, EMSA - Architectural Consultants, MACE, Nurture Landscapes Ltd, Queen & Crawford, Twineham Timber, Wilson James Ltd, Wingate Electrical PLC.
Key Outcome: 
New public space reclaimed in Bankside Urban Forest

Created by artists Heather and Ivan Morison, Skirt of the Black Mouth is a place for everyone within the south landscape of the Tate Modern Project.

Opened during this year's Merge Festival, and firmly responding to the aims of Bankside Urban Forest the project recovers some previously inaccessible public space from the Tate Modern Project, and provides an exemplar on how spaces can be released from the confines of a building site to benefit the wider community.

The Skirt of the Black Mouth began as a new approach to the traditional hoarding, using it as a sculptural element to redefine the space, while allowing glimpses of what lies behind. Characterised by a distinctively twisted arrangement of the wall, bench and path, it is a space stolen back from the construction site, dividing one world from another.  A timber cobble path, sourced from a Welsh forestry social enterprise Coed Cymru, winds itself through the space, demonstrating how new uses can be found for previously discarded materials.

The project, which was commissioned by Tate Modern, demonstrates how strong partnership working can deliver tangible benefits for all.  The project was supported and funded by a wide range of organisations working locally - including some contractors working on the Tate Modern Project itself.

Nov 30 2012