Dark art: Anne Hardy’s winter commission at Tate Britain reflects turbulent times

The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light by Anne Hardy courtesy Tate

Tate Britain’s winter commission is now a highly anticipated festive fixture on the art world calendar. This year’s arty winter wonderland comes courtesy of the London-based artist Anne Hardy who has transformed the Millbank entrance into a marooned, abandoned monument draped with tattered banners and tangled lights (The Depth of Darkness, the Return of the Light). Sculpted objects resembling fossilised relics and flowing material are dotted around the entrance steps, while a 21-minute sound work incorporating watery and thunder-esque sounds envelops visitors as they move towards the entrance. “The light and sound elements of the work are site-specific and have been choreographed in situ to give the impression that the building has become possessed,” a project statement says. Hardy explains how the work connects to bigger cycles such as the ebb and flow of the nearby River Thames. “The river is truly ancient, with tides twice daily,” she says. The alfresco installation is also inspired by pagan descriptions of the winter solstice—the darkest moment of the year—bringing to mind our current gloomy political climate…