Review: The Light Show Exhibition - Southbank Centre

​Not long ago we had our first Creative Arts Network Meetup. If you’re not familiar with the idea of ‘Meetup’ it’s basically a website where you join interest based groups and go along to events to meet like-minded people. It’s a social network that isn’t restricted to the virtual.

The Creative Arts Network group, South East London Creatives and Freelancers, chose ‘The Light Show’ at the Hayward Gallery for our first Meetup. I (Aimee) stood on the South Bank wearing a bright yellow woolly hat as an identifier for the strangers who had signed up online to come along, and I didn’t have to wait long before they started gathering! It was great to meet other creative people, and as we chatted and wandered round the gallery we realised we had lots in common.

The exhibition itself was brilliant. I have always found the space at the Hayward to be remarkable and the building’s structure was used well to guide visitors through the narrative of the varied exhibits. From Anthony McCall’s interactive piece, ‘You and I, Horizontal’, which used a haze machine to play on the idea of light as a ‘solid’ object, to Carlos Cruz-Diez’s ‘Chromosaturation,’ which demonstrated our perception of colour through light projection onto planes of suspended cubes, the exhibits were enough to captivate us for a good couple of hours.

Image credit: Linda NylindImage credit: Linda Nylind

On more that one occasion our group was left wondering exactly how a piece worked and we were no less awed by the mysterious pieces we did manage to solve. However, I think the whole group would agree that Olafur Eliasson’s was the piece that really stole the show.
No written description could compare to actually experiencing this piece but I will do my best to paint a partial picture. Twenty-seven small, unique fountains on a raised platform, in a dark room, lit only with strobe lighting. Instead of feeling like some kind of strange nightclub or oddly lit garden centre, the effect of the strobe was incredibly beautiful; creating tiny still lifes of the fountains. Almost stop-motion-like, this piece was mesmerising and the fountains could easily have been mistaken for intricate glass sculptures in the fractions of seconds that they were lit.

Photo of Conrad Shawcross’s “Slow Arc” by Bobbi Lee HitchonConrad Shawcross’s “Slow Arc” Image credit: Bobbi Lee Hitchon

As we left the Hayward, I felt inspired by the way that light creates beauty and causes transformation; though we may not always understand the intricacies of light’s workings, it’s effects in a dark place are undeniable.
Why not join us at our next Meet-up? Just hit the meet-up symbol in the top right corner.

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