Light Show – Hayward Gallery, March 2013

Light Show at the Hayward Gallery

This is when I run out of superlatives.

This is the exhibition London is talking about. This is the show of 2013. 

And it’s easy to see why.

Light Show makes you wonder at, contemplate, investigate and interact with […] illumination‘ (source: Hayward Gallery).

You go from exhibit to exhibit in awe. You’re experimenting, you’re surprised and sometimes confused. You’re having fun.

The exhibition plays with you – can you trust what you see? What do you see?

I have a a ton of favourites… and here’s my take on them:

Cylinder II (Leo Villareal) – the sequences are never repeated. You could be looking at falling snow, fireworks or a meteo shower. Disco dancing? Loved it.

S=U=P=E=R=S=T=R=U=C=T=U=R=E (‘Trace me back to some loud, shallow, chill, underlying motives overspill’) (Cerith Wyn Evans) – these columns, made of lighting filaments running through glass tubes, bring you warmth. At their peak, they lit the room a warm shade of sun. They follow a kind of breathing pattern. I want them.

You and I, Horizontal (Anthony McCall) – so… we recently stopped the rain… well, in this show, we went through, around and into an artificial mist of light. Cooool.

Untitled (Doug Wheeler) – this ‘light encasement’ is peaceful to look at. Everyone should have one at home… you need this in your room whenever you’ve had a bad day at work.

Exploded view (Commuters) (Jim Campbell) – to appreciate this one, you need to be a little distance away from it. There… that’s about right. Can you see them now, the commuters, walking? Brilliant. At first, not having read the caption, I thought the lights came and went randomly. Then I saw.

Wedgework V (James Turrell) – I sat right up close it and stared. It draws you in… and there’s a danger that you’ll never be able to tear yourself away from it. Stunning. The ‘light falls across the room’. You don’t quite know where it ends.

Chromosaturation (Carlos Cruz Diez) – this one plays tricks on you. Three rooms: one blue, one red and one green. You enter a room and the colour changes… but it doesn’t really. Eavesdropping on people… ‘the colour is changing, isn’t it?, ‘I’m sure it’s changing’. What you see as your eyes get accustomed to the room changes. The other half’s favourite of the show.

Reality Show (Silver) (Ivan Navarro) – you have to queue to enter the ‘box’… but it’s a short queue and it gives you the opportunity to watch the guys in the ‘box’. You see them; they can’t see you. It’s all about surveillance. The idea of interrogation rooms. I was hoping for a time machine… or a stage on which I could perform “Saturday Night Fever’.

Rose (Ann Veronica Janssens) – light fittings projecting artificial fog to form a star… we had fun with this one, the two of us (and the security camera). “I’m a superstar”…

Model for a Timeless Garden (Olafur Eliasson) – stunning. Absolutely stunning. It doesn’t look real. Water in slow motion. Details the eyes can’t normally see. Lovely.

As I left the exhibition, I was given the opportunity to create my own illumination show… with the help of a red neon and the plentiful London rain. Right up there with the very best, no? Chuckle, chuckle.


Light Show is on at the Hayward Gallery until 28 April 2013. Admission fee.

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I'm an inquisitive being. Everything is an adventure: art, architecture, colours, food, patterns, people... and travel! And I love elephants. That's what I mostly write about.
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