“The artwork is designed to stimulate the senses. If at any stage you feel uncomfortable PLEASE LEAVE THE SPACE.” Having read this notice you can imagine that I couldn’t wait to pull back the black curtain and go inside. But as this was the last of the 25 works in the London Hayward Gallery’s stunning Light Show, let’s return to it later.
This new, incandescent exhibition has quite appropriately, spawned glowing reviews. So much so that on the Sunday I visited advance tickets had all sold out. The swell of visitors means you really need a game plan: get there at the 10am opening time and head straight to James Turrell’s Wedgework V. Here you can sit and ponder the angry crimson rectangle projected at an angle onto a wall, with blueish light suggestive of an unreachable exit on the far edge. After this, you should nip up the stairs and into the mirrored, light-studded “phonebox” that is Ivan Navarro’s Reality Show. Having got ahead of the queues at both of these installations, you can return to the beginning of the show and amble through the remaining works.
Full marks to the curators. Every single item on show is either scintillating or stimulating – and usually both. I can’t remember ever getting into so many conversations with strangers in an art gallery, but these works prompt you to interact and exclaim, as did one toddler who came flailing towards me: “Awesome!”
Works I especially enjoyed were Anthony McCall’s You and I, Horizontal, a dark, disorientating, haze-filled room shot with rotating beams of white light. Despite being mere projections, they seemed sufficiently solid as to pierce and break. I also lingered in Carlos Cruz-Diez’s Chromosaturation: three white spaces with lights coloured blue, red and green that created extraordinary visual effects both individually and where they met. They couldn’t express more clearly how light can trick the brain to see what isn’t there.
I could go on, but let’s skip to that last room: Model for a Timeless Garden by Olafur Eliasson, creator of the hugely successful Weather Project giant sun at Tate Modern some years back. Here at the Hayward, strobe lights and a soundtrack create a magical, sparkling garden scene, that I won’t describe in more detail because you’ve got to go – and be amazed.
Until 28 April. Adult tickets: £11.
Photographs by Linda Nyland:
Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation (1965-2013) ©the artist/DACS,Cruz-Diez Foundation.
Iván Navarro, Reality Show (2010),©the artist, Courtesy the artist and Galerie Daniel Templon, Paris.
Anthony McCall,You and I, Horizontal (2005), ©the artist courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin London.