The Southbank centre has dedicated 2013 to ‘The Rest is Noise,’ and look to be hosting a year of spectacular auditory sensations, so it makes sense that the Hayward gallery’s first exhibition should be entitled ‘Light Show;’ a tribute to art made through the very visual medium of light.
Billed as an invitation to ‘wonder at, contemplate, investigate and, in some cases, to interact with, illuminated environments and sculptures.’ Light Show presents 25 different pieces of work spanning from the 1960s to the modern day. With the flexibility the Hayward presents as a venue, the number of sensory experiences awaiting you seems almost infinite; there are numerous side rooms built to house a single light experience, whilst the more open spaces present a chance to wander through and around light sculptures, both great and small.
Light Show is exactly as you’d expect; it’s a sensory dream, but so much more. It can be considered the product of a polyamorous relationship between science, art, theatre and politics. Upon entry to the gallery space you are greeted by 19,600 white LED lights that are playing an eternally changing dance, evoking absolutely every conceivable image a light can. The use of computer programming insures that the spectacle is never repeated; what you see is unique to you in that moment, and it is the use of exclusive experiences that really makes this exhibition one worth seeing.
Exclusivity and interactivity come to the foremost in the small rooms that branch off the main gallery. A Tunnel of smoke invites you to step into the artwork, and flail your arms in wild discovery, whilst in another room the movement is created for you; an ingenious use of shadows and moving light makes the room gyrate in a way that invokes thoughts of a fairground ride, or Lewis Carroll’s Wonderland.
Elsewhere, whilst sporting some fetching white plastic bag shoes, you are allowed to experience how it would feel to stand inside a cloud, or in another room you are able to just reflect upon the primary colours; you may experience basking in hot pink sun, contemplate deeply in a blue zone or just wonder at how much you look like the hulk in green light.
Yet beyond this first sensory layer there is deeper meanings; mirror and lights are used to recreate the feeling of hopelessness under a dictatorship, the problems of skyscrapers, and LED lights are even used to expose the so-called war on terror.
At only £9 for a student ticket, you have until 28th April to be illuminated.