Hayward did it again. Another blockbuster opened earlier last week, Hayward Gallery’s new major exhibition Space Shifters features artworks spanning a period of roughly 50 years by 20 leading international artists that alter or disrupt the visitor’s sense of space.
The works in the exhibition focus the attention of the viewer on the act of perception whilst transforming their experience of the Gallery’s distinctive architecture. Often constructed from reflective or translucent materials like glass, resin and mirror, the artworks in the show aim to elicit responses that are both physiological and psychological. They also comprise an alternative history of minimalism: not a geometric, austere, serial minimalism, but one with a more alluring, elegant and playful sensibility.
My favorite? It’s got to be Alicja Kwade’s WeltenLinie. As you move around and through the steel-framed structure, the way we read and understand the objects within it shifts, depending on our perspective – one moment you saw yourself, next moment you vanished, a greyish rock turns to rusted metal, while a wooden tree trunk becomes a gleaming silver, smaller impression of itself.
Speaking of the highlight of the show, you can’t leave without the 45-minute-wait main attraction - Richard Wilson recreates his monumental installation 20:50. Thousands of litres of recycled oil form a waist-high horizon that surrounds the viewer as they proceed down a gangway spliced through the inky liquid. The artwork’s glossy surface mesmerisingly reflects the open roof and the sky beyond - drawing lights in and forms such a tranquil composition before your eyes. While this is no one to blame as London is such a art-loving city, visitors subconsciously had to rush through the exhibit because of the long queue (meaning take a photo, a photo for your friend and actually look at the exhibit yourself), I’d very much love to experience Wilson’s installation again some other time, some other day, some other city perhaps.
Space Shifters, opens now till 6 January 2019
Hayward Gallery, Southbank Centre, Belvedere Road, London SE1 8XX