Light Show, at the Hayward Gallery in the Southbank Centre, is
London's current must-see exhibition – and not just because it promises to
brighten up the daylight deprived month of February.
from the 1960s to the present day, the exhibition, open until 28 April, brings
together 23 works of light by 22 artists, much of which not only illuminates,
but will disorientate and dazzle, using free standing structures, projections
and light flooded spaces.
Spread over two
floors of the appropriately cavernous space, you'll find all the big names from
the lighting artist world: American pioneer Dan Flavin who works mostly with
fluorescent tubes; and fellow US artists Jenny
Holzer, whose stacked LED
tower displaying declassified government
documents from the “War on Terror" is presented like a sinister stock
exchange ticker, and Nancy Holt, known for her large scale outdoor installations and
whose work is rarely shown in galleries.
More than just a
static show of lights, this collection throws our perception of light and space,
encouraging the audience to touch, feel, stand and bathe in it. British-born Anthony McCall's piece You and I Horizontal is a bewildering solid
light installation that uses a video projector to create what seems like a
thick wall. Adults and children can be seen testing it as they walk slowly in
and out of the thick haze.
artist Carlos Cruz-Diez has created three rooms in his picee Chromosaturation,
each composed of an entirely solid colour in which you can fully immerse
yourself. It sounds simple enough, but this powerful mono-saturation confuses the
eyes, which are used to seeing a wide array of colours together.
And don’t miss Danish-Icelandic
artist Olafur Eliasson's Model of Timeless Garden, which uses strobe lights to
create an effect similar to an old black and white movie. A table of mini
flowing waterfalls is illuminated in such a way that it feels as though each
droplet from the sparkling fountains is frozen in mid air. The flashing lights
are likely to leave you feeling disorientated, so as you walk back through the
exhibition to exit into the natural light, it is likely you will start to see
Tickets cost £11
and can be booked online.
Malika Dalamal is the
London Localite for BBC Travel