Friday 10 May 2013

The Hayward Gallery's Light Show was one of this year's most talked-about and reviewed shows in London. It's just recently closed, unfortunately, but I actually managed to get to it this time round (unlike the incredibly popular Rain Room, which I never ended up going, much to my disappointment). I thought the show was brilliant - not all of the pieces were necessarily to my taste, but it was an intriguing and engaging exhibition. It seemed particularly popular with parents and children, as it's nice and distracting for the little ones. 

A few pieces caught my eye in particular: Anthony McCall's smoke-injected room of turning 'solid light', which people were almost afraid to walk through, ducking under instead; Carlos Cruz-Diez's immersive, saturated colour-space; Conrad Shawcross' disorienting Slow Arc inside a Cube, which caused me to feel like I was about to have debilitating heart palpitations... in a good way; James Turrell's Wedgework, where one unfortunate visitor walked into a wall in full view of everyone else; Jim Campbell's stunning Exploded View; and Katie Peterson's incredibly calming Moonlight. However, the absolute showstopper of the exhibition was Olafur Eliasson's Model For a Timeless Garden. With visible warnings on the outer wall of the room - and having watched the head-bashing incident in the room containing Wedgework already - I wasn't entirely sure what was to be expected. Walking in, I was transfixed. I've always found water particularly beautiful, but this is entirely different. Strobe lights freeze water features, turning the entire room into a three-dimensional stop-motion animation of crystallised water. I spent as long as possible in there before the strobe started getting to me. I don't think photographs or film could do it justice, but since it's closed and I won't see it again, the Hayward film of it will have to do for when I feel I need to relive it.

Images: stills from above video, Hayward Gallery

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