Visit London Blog » hayward gallery Enjoy the very best of London Fri, 18 Apr 2014 09:00:30 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Alternative Guide to the Universe at the Hayward Gallery Tue, 11 Jun 2013 14:08:45 +0000 The Hayward Gallery Alfred Jensen, All the Beautiful Systems, 1979 - oil on canvas - The Museum of Everything Alfred Jensen, Twelve Events in a Dual Universe, 1978 - oil on canvas - National Gallery of Art, Washington, Gift of the Collectors Committee Bodys Isek Kingelez, Hirochima Palace, Palais d'Hirochima, 1991, CAAZ - The Pigozzi Collection, Geneva Bodys Isek Kingelez, International Sports, Sports Internationaux, 1997, Courtesy Andre Magnin, Paris Richard Greaves, The Sugar House or the Sugar Shack, 2001 and The Three Little Pigs House (side view), 2001 - photos by Mario del Curto Emery Blagdon, the 'Healing Machine' William Scott Remote Controlled Cart with Clothing, 2013, mixed media, Courtesy of artist - Wu Yulu

Step into a parallel universe at the Hayward Gallery this summer where mavericks, visionaries and outsiders have created an untraditional perspective of the world we live in, through art.

The Alternative Guide to the Universe exhibition comes as part of the Southbank Centre’s Festival of Neighbourhood. I went along to the press view, to delve into the world of eccentric art, before it officially opened today.

The exhibition focuses on individuals who depart from the accepted way of thinking and re-imagine the rules of culture and science, featuring contributions from self-taught artists and architects, fringe physicists, dreamers and visionary inventors who have created an artistic landscape that stretches to the far horizons of our imagination. Ralph Rugoff, director of the Hayward Gallery, described the exhibition as “going outside the parameters of the so-called art world … going outside the parameters of the so-called outsider art world.”

Through paintings, drawings, sculpture, photography and architectural models; alternative calendars, a detailed human nervous system, scientific charts, engineering plans, functioning robots and blueprints for cities of the future and the evolution of human consciousness are created.

What I found particularly thought-provoking was that this art isn’t produced to purely be aesthetically pleasing, but that its creators are motivated by a wide range of concerns. William Scott, for example, worked on a planning project to see his hometown of San Francisco rebuilt to be “spiritually and physically transformed” believing this change will come about from encounters between UFO’s and members of his local Baptist Church, enabling people to reinvent their lives.

Several photographers in the exhibition explore fictional identities and alter egos, including a homeless artist from Chicago, Lee Godie, who used photo-booths to create hundreds of self-portraits, portraying herself in different guises.

Most fascinating was the remote control child robot you can see wandering around the exhibition, created by Wu Yulu to chase people. Wu began creating the robots with specific abilities, such as cleaning and washing the dishes, with rubbish he found near his farm.

And that’s not all, upstairs is the Museum of Everything, a world famous wandering space for undiscovered artists of modern time. In keeping with the reinvention of reality, a number of sculptures, photographs and film are dedicated to visionary builder, Nek Chand. He has spent more than 50 years creating the world’s greatest outdoor art environment, the “Rock Garden”, outside Chandigarh, India, which is formed completely from scrap materials covering 20 acres.

If you want to explore the art further, you can take part in one of the tours, where you will visit the exhibition in the company of artists, scholars, curators and writers, who will present their own views on the artwork

Whether you are an art fanatic or not, this exhibition is sure to make you think outside of the conventional and question the definition of “normal” art.

Alternative Guide to the Universe at the Hayward Gallery until 26 August.

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Art of Change: New Directions from China at Hayward Gallery Wed, 05 Sep 2012 16:33:45 +0000 Xu Zhen, In Just a Blink of an Eye (2005/2012), ©the artist 2012,  Photo: Linda Nylind Liang Shaoji, Bed /Nature Series No.10  (1993-1999), ©the artist 2012, Image courtesy the artist and ShanghART Gallery Chen Zhen, Purification Room (2000/2012), ©the artist 2012, Photo Linda Nylind

This morning I attended the preview for the Hayward Gallery’s new exhibition Art of Change: New Directions from China, which opens on Friday.

The exhibition shows performance art or installations by eight contemporary Chinese artists on the theme of change.

Art of Change is certainly one of the most unusual and interactive shows I’ve seen at the Hayward Gallery. All the works are in a state of change, allowing the artists to explore notions of impermanence and transformation.

The first installation is a piece of gym equipment which you can move yourself via remote control. In the next room, a performer tucks herself into a sleeping bag on a shelf, while another pokes her head through a shelf.

It soon became clear that we were not alone – striped pyjama-clad performers were silently following some of us around the gallery, stopping patiently when we paused to read, and following quickly when we changed direction.

The real “wow” moments for me are Xu Zhen’s In Just a Blink of an Eye, where a person seemingly floats in mid-air. This was the one that got people talking – “is it a real person,” “how do they do that?” It is a real person, although I didn’t see him blink or even breathe.

Liang Shaoji’s Nature Series is another highlight: a room full of items around which silkworms have spun their cocoons, from giant chains to tiny bed wire bed frame. There’s also a darkened room where you can sit on a cushion and “listen to zen,” the sound of silkworms eating and spinning. You even see live silkworms in the next room.

The upper and lower galleries have a more sombre tone. Here you can see a room of work by controversial duo Peng Yu and Sun Yuan, including a four metre tall tower made of human fat siphoned off during liposuction, and a room of objects covered in mud by the late Chen Zhen.

There’s also a digital archive where you can find out more about each of the artists in the exhibition, and about the development of installation and performance art in China from 1979 to the present.

Art of Change: New Directions from China is at the Hayward Gallery from 7 September to 9 December 2012

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London Photo of the Week: Under the Baobab Tree Sat, 07 Jul 2012 08:00:01 +0000

Katesca‘s vibrant photograph really brings out the gorgeous colours of the fabric wrapped around the Baobab Tree sculpture next to The Hayward gallery on the Southbank.

The work is called Under the Baobab and is part of the Festival of the World celebrations.

The baobab tree is sometimes known as the tree of life because it provides shelter, fruit, bark for making clothes and ropes and store water. The fabric was chosen by the the textile design MA students from Chelsea College of Art and Design and represents their communities of origin.

There’s so many exciting things going on in London this summer, bring your camera and add your photos to the Visit London Flickr pool.

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Video of the Week: Southbank Centre Celebrates the Festival of Britain Fri, 21 Jan 2011 13:30:55 +0000

This week’s video comes from the Southbank Centre, and is a tantalizing glimpse at what’s coming up for the venue this summer.

The Southbank Centre is celebrating the 60th anniversary of the Festival of Britain with a four-month festival of British culture and creativity.

Highlights include Ray Davies curating Meltdown  in June; a major show by Tracey Emin at the Hayward Gallery (18 May to 29 August); plus appearances by Lang Lang, Heston Blumenthal, Billy Bragg, John Berger, Meera Syal and Tony Benn.

Themed weekends celebrate some of the highlights of British culture: a weekend of comedy and music curated by Stewart Lee (27 to 30 May), a hip-hop weekend (22 to 24 July) and Wayne Hemingway’s vintage weekend (29 to 31 July).

Find out more here.

Are you excited about the Festival of Britain 2011? Let us know in the comments below.

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London Exhibitions: Last Chance to See Fri, 07 Jan 2011 16:03:17 +0000

If you’ve been meaning to see Gauguin at Tate Modern or Diaghilev at the V&A, now’s your last chance. Many high-profile London exhibitions are closing over the next fortnight to make way for exciting new shows.

These exhibitions are all in their final days - catch them while you can!

Closing 9 January 2011:

Closing 16 January 2011:

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Five London Art Exhibitions to Look Forward to in 2011 Wed, 29 Dec 2010 12:00:39 +0000 As we wave goodbye to a year of blockbuster exhibitions from Van Gogh to Gauguin, it’s time to look forward to next year’s art shows. Here are five sure-fire hits for 2011.

  • Miró, Tate Modern, 14 Apr-11 Sep
    The first retrospective of Surrealist painter Joan Miró’s work in London for nearly 50 years
  • Degas Dancers, Royal Academy, 17 Sep-11 Dec
    A landmark exhibition featuring Edgar Degas’ famous paintings and sculptures of young ballerinas
  • Afghanistan: Crossroads of the Ancient World, British Museum, 3 Mar-3 Jul
    More than 200 ancient objects from the National Museum of Afghanistan in Kabul
  • Tracey Emin: Love is What You Want, Hayward Gallery, 18 May-29 Aug
    The first-ever major survey of Tracey Emin’s work in London
  • Glamour of the Gods: Hollywood Portraits, National Portrait Gallery, 7 Jul-23 Oct
    Film portraits from the industry’s golden age, the period from 1920 to 1960

Let me know what you’re excited about seeing at London’s art galleries in 2011 in the comments below.

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London Exhibitions: Last Chance to See Thu, 02 Sep 2010 11:00:06 +0000

Every September, the current crop of London exhibitions close to make way for exciting new shows. That means it’s your last chance to see some of the summer’s hottest exhibitions…

Closing on 5 September:

Closing later this month:

But don’t worry, there’s plenty to look forward to this autumn. Major new exhibitions include Gauguin, Treasures from Budapest, Serge Diaghilev and the Golden Age of the Ballets Russes, and the Turner Prize.

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Ed Ruscha Exhibition Opens Today Wed, 14 Oct 2009 09:00:23 +0000 Standard Station, Ed Ruscha

The Hayward Gallery‘s new exhibition, Ed Ruscha: 50 Years of Painting opens today.

The exhibition celebrates the American artist’s 50 year career with a retrospective of his work.

On display are 78 striking paintings, from bold images with playful words, to haunting black and white silhouettes.

Ed Ruscha was at yesterday morning’s press view and explained how he paints ideas rather than scenes. He also said there are a few more of his works “in the refrigerator,” which have never yet been exhibited.

The Hayward Gallery’s director, Ralph Rugoff also talked about Ruscha’s amazing contribution to the art world – how he introduced language into painting by painting words, how his work continued to evolve in each decade, and how he has influenced countless modern artists.

Ruscha is like an old friend of The Hayward Gallery, as his work was exhibited in a pop art show during the gallery’s first year, back in 1969.

The gallery will be closing from February to May 2010, and we know we’re going to miss it! So make sure you see Ed Ruscha: 50 Years of Painting before then.

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Walking In My Mind at Hayward Gallery Mon, 22 Jun 2009 16:53:49 +0000
Yayoi Kusuma, Dots Obsession 2004, © Yayoi Kusama 2009, Photo: Yayoi Kusama Studio

Yayoi Kusuma, Dots Obsession 2004, © Yayoi Kusama 2009, Photo: Yayoi Kusama Studio

The Hayward Gallery has gone all John Malkovich on us with their surreal, new exhibition Walking In My Mind. Through a series of giant works and sculptures, ten artists invite us to enter their imaginations.

The exhibition begins before you even step foot inside the Hayward. Along the sunny Southbank, 24 trees have been wrapped in red spotted fabric. It’s the brainwave of iconic Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama – a life-long dot-obsessive, according to a recent interview in The Guardian.

Of course, all art is about stepping into the artist’s imagination, but in Walking In My Mind it is a much more physical, adventurous experience. It was also darker, funnier and more bizarre than I expected. 

Scottish-born artist Charles Avery had me chuckling out loud with his inventive project The Islanders. As well as sketches of life on his imaginary island, Avery displays his ‘souvenirs’, including Stone-mice (“part rodent, part mineral”), which look suspiciously like normal stones, and a Bejewelled Hare – stuffed and brandishing its bling like a hip-hop superstar.

Thomas Hirschhorn’s Cavemanman was even more surreal. His uneven maze of tiny caves and tunnels, made of cardboard and plastered in brown parcel tape, was like something out of a postman’s nightmare.

But there was a darker side to the exhibition too. Walking through Chiharu Shoita’s After The Dream was quite unsettling. The painstakingly woven web of wool – Shoita told me it took a week to complete – felt like a swarm of bats that could get caught in your hair any second. 

Yayoi Kusama’s new work, Dots Obession, has become the ‘face’ of the exhibition so I was eager to see this. For me, the red spotted shapes worked best on the Southbank and on the bright, green Astroturf of the Hayward’s sculpture terrace, where they looked vibrant and delightfully out of place.

One of the curators Mami Kataoka pointed out that while a doctor can visually see the brain, the mind itself has no boundaries – “there is no shape”. This sense of freedom in self-expression has produced an exhibition that really does blow your mind.

Inspired by the exhibition and want to discuss your views? Head along to the Hayward’s free workshop Talking In My Mind on 5 July.

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