Highly Recommended: “Light Show” at the Hayward Gallery London until 28 April

The Light Show is currently on display at the Hayward Gallery, Southbank, until 28 April 2013.

London’s position as one of the world leaders in visual arts is well documented. However, genuinely immersive art experiences, with the exception of the Turbine Hall at Tate Modern and the current “Rain Room” at The Barbican are relatively rare. Nor are exhibitions that explore the use of light, which along with graphic design, is subject of interest to us (as you can see from cover image!). The Light Show corrects this.

First, some practical tips. The exhibition is very popular and advance booking is strongly recommended (though thankfully unlike many blockbuster exhibitions it did not feel over-crowded inside). The exhibition had completely sold out this weekend. The standard entrance is fee £10. However, if you buy a membership of the Southbank for £40 you do have free entry to the exhibition from a daily allocation of tickets to members (and it is one that deserves a second visit).

Also, it is worth allocating a good couple of hours for the exhibition. Many of the 25 exhibits, particularly the installations in dedicated rooms, do benefit from spending time (10-15 minutes in some cases) to observe and appreciate the effect the exhibit.

The exhibition begins with Leo Villareal’s “Cylinder II” (2012) which features some 19,600 LED lights in an endlessly changing pattern and this makes for a dramatic entrance to the exhibition.

Other highlights include Anthony McCall’s “You and I, Horizontal” (2005) featuring a solid light video projection (video below), James Turrell’s “Wedgework” and Carlos Cruz-Diez’s “Chromosaturation”.

Also of note is Jenny Holzer’s single installation “Monument” (2008) featuring scrolling text from declassified US Government documents during “The War On Terror”. Although Jenny’s work has appeared in London before, we don’t think we’ve seen a large scale exhibition such as this at The Whitney Museum of American Art in New York from 2009 and it would certainly be welcome in London.

The exhibition ends on a suitably impressionable note with Olafur Eliasson’s “Model For A Timeles Garden” (2011) which features 27 fountains under strobe lighting (not for anyone affected by strobing!). This is not the first time Olafur Eliasson’s has appeared in London as he was the artist behind the stunning “Weather Project” in the Turbine Hall in Tate Modern in 2003, which we don’t think any subsequent installation in the Turbine Hall has surpassed.

All in all this is very accessible exhibition well enjoyed by visitors of all ages and definitely one of the highlights of the arts calendar in London for 2013.

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