Lights Please

04.02.2013 | Blog , Culture | BY:

Thanks to inventor Thomas Edison’s development of the light bulb over 130 years ago, most of us routinely switch on the lights when the dark draws in without a second thought, allowing us to work and play well into the ‘after hours.’ However thankfully, some artists have a different way of seeing the world around us, and it is within the Hayward Gallery’s exciting new exhibition that this insight is given recognition to.

The Light Show – simple and precise in its summary as a title – is extremely apt in its description. Artificial light in almost every perceivable imagination and more have been adopted by artists around the world to create aesthetically spell-binding works that will have its viewer transfixed.

From Carlos Cruz-Diez and his work Chromosaturation, a tantalising room of changing colours that includes the viewer within its spectrum, to Olafur Eliassons’ Model for a Timeless Garden, a dramatic strobe light water fountain that produces an ever-changing landscape frozen in a succession of unique moments, light sources have been bent counter to their traditional conventions, creating mesmerising works that go beyond acknowledging the simple beauty of illumination.
With artists work such as Anthony McCalls’ You and I, Horizontal (2005) a white beam of light is emitted from a video projector in a pitch black room from the centre of one wall across to the other; we see solid light stripped back, and appreciated for the fascinating thing that it is. Its ability to be present and yet not there at all, seen and seemingly movable yet completely untouchable, is an alluring realisation which is completely awe-inspiring.

Other pieces such as Doug Wheelers’ Untitled (1969) provides a more surreal encounter with light. A large rounded edge square bulb fixed on top of a centimeter thick yellow acrylic square is an otherworldly embodiment of it, emitting a strangely seductive hue of neon yellow/purple light. Centred within a completely white space floor to ceiling, visitors are asked to wear protective shoe wear in order to not mark the artwork and its surroundings. It’s a strange experience, that whilst initially beautiful and seemingly peaceful, holds a certain clinical atmosphere that becomes strangely unsettling.

An extensive reconsideration of our relationship to our surroundings, this exhibition will have you thinking twice the next time you switch on a light bulb.

Light Show exhibits at Hayward Gallery until April 28.

Brigitte Kowanz, Light Steps (1990-2013) ©the artist. The artist, courtesy Häusler Contemporary, München/Zürich; Galerie Krobath, Wien/Berlin; Galerie Nikolaus Ruzicska, Salzburg; Bryce Wolkowitz Gallery, New York.

Ann Veronica Janssens, Rose (2007) ©the artist/DACS.

Anthony McCall, You and I, Horizontal (2005) ©the artist, courtesy of the artist and Sprüth Magers Berlin London.

Carlos Cruz-Diez, Chromosaturation (1965-2013) ©the artist/DACS Cruz-Diez Foundation. Photo: Linda Nylind
Top:  David Batchelor, Magic Hour (2004-2007) ©the artist/DACS. Courtesy the artist and Galeria Leme, São Paulo.

Photos: Linda Nylind

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Youth Work

21.06.2011 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

As part of the Louis Vuitton Young Arts Project, the French fashion house has launched REcreative, an online community for the young, lean and art hungry. Careers advice for the digital age, it’s a gold mine of advice and an opportunity for creative minds to gain an insight into the lives of leading artists, curators and designers.

Interviews online already include Tracey Emin discussing her Hayward Gallery show, Love is What You Want and Dazed and Confused founder Jefferson Hack on how to establish your own magazine and voice.  REcreative users can also upload their own work and have it seen by those at the top of their creative tree. Developed by Louis Vuitton in collaboration with London’s leading art institutions: the Hayward Gallery, the Royal Academy of Arts, the South London Gallery, Tate Britain and the Whitechapel Gallery, REcreative is set to put the wheels of a whole new generation on the right creative track. Spread the word.

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Love to love

31.05.2011 | Art , Blog , Culture | BY:

The problem with success is that once you have it it’s almost impossible to avoid being typecast by it. One of the biggest misconceptions about Tracey Emin is that her work is all about sex.  In fact, as Emin’s first major London exhibition shows, it’s about far more than her sex life. It’s about intimacy. It’s about love.  This is a love that takes no account of gender, race, or even – as we discovered via a video starring a bullmastiff – species. It appears many things go on in a bed besides sex.

Tracey Emin seems to take a lot of flak in this country.
Maybe the kind of poignant statements her work is littered with are a bit too close to the bone:

“You stop me from feeling anything”
“I do not expect to be a mother but I do expect to die alone”
“Every time I feel love I think Christ I’m going to be crucified”
“I whisper to my past, do I have another choice”

But for all the vapidity she’s accused of, this is strong stuff.

Tracey Emin: Love is what you Want spans the artist’s entire career to date, and includes many specially commissioned and previously unseen works.  This show opens the eyes to the vast expanse of Emin’s oeuvre.  She’s prolific – working successfully in many media.  Add to that she’s feisty, controversial and fun. We don’t care if some love to hate you Tracey. We love to love you.

Tracey Emin : Love is what you Want is at the Hayward Gallery until August 29.

Images by David Levene. Words  by Beverley Knowles

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