Let there be Light

The Hayward Gallery will play host to a series of giant sculptures and installations next year, each focusing on the unearthly beauty of one of the world’s most sacred phenomena – light.

Ann Veronica Janssens, Rose 2007

Source: Copyright the artist

Ann Veronica Janssens, Rose 2007

Light Show is spread over the gallery’s two floors and features work from a handful of international art collectives, including Minimalism, Kinetic Art and the California-based Light and Space movement in the 1960s-70s.

From being immersed in illuminated environments to moving through spaces that have been sculpted by light, spectators will be able to experience light in a vast array of spatial and sensory forms. Cliff Lauson, curator at the Hayward Gallery, says, ‘The idea was to pick 22 artists to pull together a concise survey of light and art since the 1960s. The thing I hope people take away is the experience of light in a myriad of forms and how it can be used in sculptural ways.’

Anthony McCall, You and I Horizontal, 2005

Source: Copyright the artist

Anthony McCall, You and I Horizontal, 2005

The exhibition aims to examine the diverse properties of light – its colour, duration, movement and speed – through a variety of lighting technologies, including specialist incandescent bulbs, fluorescent tubes, theatre lamps, custom-circuitry, neon and computer-controlled LEDs.

David Batchelor, Magic Hour, 2004, 2007

Source: Copyright the artist

David Batchelor, Magic Hour, 2004, 2007

The Nominal Three (to William Ockham) and Untitled (to the ‘innovator’ of Wheeling Peachblow) by Dan Flavin, an American minimalist renowned for his pioneering light works and their bizarre titles, are some of the exhibition’s highlights. Throughout his 30 year career, Flavin played on the idea of mass-production and produced light sculptures made entirely from shop-bought fluorescent tubes. Although the fixtures were only available in ten set colours, Flavin was able to achieve a seemingly endless palette of eye-popping gradations by blending the colours and configuring the tubes in three-dimensional settings.

Francois Morellet, Lamentable, 2006

Source: Copyright the artist

Francois Morellet, Lamentable, 2006

Other works not to be missed include Jenny Holzer’s Monument, a glowing column-like form with its own bespoke tickers broadcasting text lifted from classified government documents on the war on terror. Holzer, known for exploring the relationship between light and language in public spaces, has famously projected these censored transcripts onto the sides of national landmarks, including the Rockefeller Centre and the New York Public Library in 2005.

Conrad Shawcross, low Arc Inside A Cube IV, 2009

Source: Copyright the artist

Conrad Shawcross, low Arc Inside A Cube IV, 2009

Conrad Shawcross’ Slow Arc Inside A Cube features a large rotating machine encased in an enormous wire cage, while Katie’s Paterson’s spartan Light Bulb to Simulate Moonlight involves 289 specially engineered incandescent bulbs that emit light of the same colour, temperature and intensity as moonlight.

Katie Paterson, Lightbulb to Simulate Moonlight, 2008

Source: Copyright the artist

Katie Paterson, Lightbulb to Simulate Moonlight, 2008

Light is at the Hayward Gallery, Belvedere Road, London, SE1 from 30 January -28 April 2013. 

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