Visitors to modern art galleries often say they have been left in the dark. Those heading for Tate Modern from today onwards will be able to make that complaint almost literally. The Polish artist Miroslaw Balka has turned the gallery's Turbine Hall into a black hole. The installation, entitled "How It Is", is designed to evoke feelings of oppression, fear, disorientation and helplessness. Balka is not toying with people's emotions. His intentions are very serious, for he says his work is influenced by a childhood spent in a village in which many former inhabitants were Jews who died in the Holocaust.
The Tate should be congratulated for its boldness in setting up this extraordinary installation. Once again, it has shown it is willing to take risks to create the sense of wonder with which the Turbine Hall is now synonymous.
It is also tempting to say that the Tate has shown a good deal of vision – but vision, in this particular case, will be in short supply.