Review: Hayward Gallery Light Show

Light Show is a new and popular exhibition to hit London, where sculptures and art use light to create unique experiences.

Zoe Birdsall

Due to high popularity, the Light Show at Southbank’s Hayward Gallery has been extended and is now selling tickets up until May 6.  

The use of colour, flashing, strobe, total darkness, water, mist and shadows makes for an interesting, perceptual phenomenon put on by Dr Cliff Lauson, Hayward Gallery Curator.

The Southbank show features works by 22 artistsDavid BatchelorJim CampbellCarlos Cruz-DiezBill CulbertOlafur EliassonFischli and WeissDan FlavinCeal FloyerNancy HoltJenny HolzerAnn Veronica JanssensBrigitte KowanzAnthony McCallFrançois MorelletIván NavarroPhilippe ParrenoKatie PatersonConrad ShawcrossJames TurrellLeo VillarealDoug Wheeler and Cerith Wyn Evans.

Trippy, dream-like experience

The piece that stole the show was Anthony McCall’s projected beam of light in a pitch black room, You and I, Horizontal (2005), which you can walk into. This trippy, dream-like experience demands to be interacted with.

One not for the weak-stomached is Conrad Shawcross’s Slow Arc inside a Cube (2008) which immerses the viewer in a room where moving cube boxes are projected onto every wall, leaving you feeling a bit dizzy and in need of outdoor fresh air (something you will not find once inside the exhibition, despite certain pieces giving the illusion of natural light).

Quit the flashing

The Hayward Gallery provides the perfect venue for this type of exhibition, with plenty of space for the sculptures to fill and have their full effect. The pieces follow each other nicely and there are separate rooms to enter, including one where visitors follow a corridor into total darkness.

With enough variety, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Even Jo Brand seemed to be enjoying herself.

The only downfall to the show is that given the difficulty with copyright and ownership, as well as keeping the wonders of the exhibition secret and therefore as exciting as possible to new visitors, there is no photography allowed in the gallery.

The outcome of this is that people try to sneak photos left, right and centre. If only visitors would keep to the anti-flash setting, or photography limitations were kept to certain rooms.

One of a kind phenomenon

Overall, the Light Show is a one of a kind, experimental phenomenon that provides a unique, creative and interactive way to explore your senses.

The huge, and growing, popularity of the exhibition suggests that the Southbank Centre have really hit the nail on the head. Tickets must be pre-booked, but for a £10 adult ticket (and plenty of concession prices) it is a must-see while it is still around.

The Hayward Gallery Light Show will run until 6 May.

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