“Light Show explores the experiential and phenomenal aspects of light by bringing together sculptures and installations that use light to sculpt and shape space in different ways. ” from www.haywardlightshow.co.uk 

Exhibition notes

I admit, I came to this exhibition to see what Olafur Elliasson is up to. After “The Sun” at Tate Modern (2005), I didn’t think he could really top that but I wanted to see.  I also dragged along my brother, Terry, for some more culture and to get out of the rain. (Mom and I went again the following week).

Leo Villareal, ‘Cylinder’, 2011 White LEDs, mirror finished stainless steel, custom software, electrical hardware 12 x 9 x 9 feet. Image courtesy Hayward Gallery website.

Generally, I enjoyed the exhibition – lots of flashy lights and intriguing installations.  It was a welcome diversion from wandering around London in the wet, spring weather but more than that – a chance to see if artists can make something from almost nothing. Turns out, they can… even if the work is a bit gimmicky at times. (Mom kept say, “Vegas! It looks like Vegas!” I guess she didn’t see past that really.)

Cruz-Diaz’s ‘Chromosaturation’ made an impression. This candy-coloured installation seemed sweet at first – but as I entered , I found my mood altered as I moved from room to room. Iwas more than just feeling a bit warm in the “warm” lighted rooms, and cool in the “cool” lighted rooms – I started to feel uneasy, physically uncomfortable maybe even on the edge of ill by the time I’d gone around to the exit. And what a relief when I stepped out into the “normal” lighting of the gallery. Conceptually, I loved this installation. It truly evoked a reaction both emotional and tangible, either so rare in artwork. Physically, I don’t ever want to step in it again.

Chromosatuation by Carlos Cruz-Diaz, 1965-2013, in Light Show at Hayward Gallery. Image courtesy of southbankcentre.co.uk
Chromosatuation by Carlos Cruz-Diaz, 1965-2013, in Light Show at Hayward Gallery. Image courtesy of southbankcentre.co.uk

In comparison, McCall’s piece “You and I Horizontal” (2005) was quite soothing, even though I felt quite alone as I shared the room with about 20 other people. It was if we were on a darkened stage, spotlight upon us, the cue for the big solo. Even in the dramatic shadows, I could still play and interact with the beam of light, sometimes inside of it, sometimes below it. It felt wonderful in a way that one might feel after much yearning, when attention due is finally paid, like a light gracing my shoulders. I wanted to stay in this room much longer than I did.

Olafur Elliasson’s piece “Model for a timeless garden” (2011) was in the last room. I couldn’t stay long as it is a bit of an assault on the senses and worth every second, until the novelty wears off.  I liked it, again conceptually, but don’t think it will stay with me the same way “The Sun” did.  But I won’t say more; you’ll have to see it for yourself.

More information

Exhibition details: Light Show runs from 30 January 2013 through Monday 6 May 2013, at Hayward Gallery