One of the most engaging and immersive exhibitions I’ve seen in a while is Light Show at Hayward Gallery.
Not quite an exhibition that everyone loves, but one that many more can.
Because it doesn’t take much for us to magicked by light and its atmosphere, its warmth and absolutism.

This exhibition requires time; a few hours at least because the works need to be absorbed.
You cant walk into one of the installations, stay for a few seconds and expect to ‘get it’.
You have to stay, muse, ponder…

Some works require for your eyes and body to get used to a certain environment. Other works require to be looked at from up close, and then a bit further away. And then still others like Anthony McCall’s You and I – Horizontal II, 2005, command repeat visits.

Here are a few of my favorites –

Leo Villareal’s Cylinder II, 2012 is stunning. And I love how you automatically sense what each different mode symbolises – snow, fireworks, rain – without needing to be told.


One of his other works – Scramble, 2011 that I discovered online, is powerful enough to give me goosebumps.

Inspired by Frank Stella’s series of the same name, which in turn takes the name from a Merce Cunningham piece, this work is hypnotic even on Vimeo.


Moving back to the exhibition, another powerful work was David Batchelor’s Magic Hour, 2004-05 which is inspired by Las Vegas sunsets as the wall text informs you. But there are other correlations to be found if you look closer, as David discovers himself.

Ceal Floyer’s Throw, 1997 is also an interesting piece.

Ceal Foyer, Throw, 2011

One of my friends asked me what was so fascinating about this work, being that it is based on a device frequently used in performance; it came across as quite contrived to her. But the one thing that made it special for me, is that it makes the action of throwing tangible; somewhat of a paradoxical spectacle using the ephemeral, intangible medium of light. With this work, Ceal makes the action of throwing a moment you can pause, see and touch, even if you only end up touching the floor.
Works like this hit my spot.

Jim Campbell’s Exploded View, 2011 is an example of how you need to give looking at art, time and space. Take one or the other away, and you only get to see and experience one side of the work.


Anthony McCall’s You and I – Horizontal II, 2005 is a very hard work to describe. It consists of compartments of light and fog that gently waft around a large room, taking form and meaning from the visitors that walk into the space. An immersive piece, this work has a different feel when you stand in the centre of it versus when you stand against the wall and watch other visitors move across the beams of light.

Here’s Anthony talking about his light works from a previous exhibition at Ambika P3 (another beautiful space on my To Explore list)

And last but not the least is Olafur Eliasson’s Model for a Timeless Garden, 2011.
You have probably never looked at fountains quite like this.

Light Show is turning out to be one of the most popular exhibitions at the Hayward and has been extended due to popular demand. It’s definitely an exhibition to visit and immerse yourself in. But don’t be too critical of what you see.
Enjoy it. Play around with the light. And you will leave realising you’ve spent a few hours discussing and experiencing light – something we take for granted and constantly live within.
Living without it, is a whole other discussion and nightmare.

Light Show
Hayward Gallery
Till 6 May 2013

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