We had an arty evening yesterday. I finished work around 4pm and met Keryn outside Embankment station. Having found each other we made our way to the Southbank and found the entrance for the Hayward Gallery. For the next few months the Hayward is displaying work commissioned from Antony Gormley, the man who created the Angel of the North. The exhibition is titled Blind Light and the name comes from one of the installations in the gallery.
The Hayward Gallery, spot the little man at the top left on the building
So we paid our entry fee and stowed out bags in the coat check and then entered the gallery. There were all sorts of installations to experience (look at, touch, peer into) but the most memorable was the Blind Light installation. At a basic level it is just a big room with glass walls and one door. Inside there are a number of units that generate mist. The room is filled with mist with visibility down to about two feet. Up to 25 people are allowed into the room at a time and wander around experiencing total white-out. It was very disconcerting, after a few steps there is no longer any sense of distance or space, people walk around and while you can hear them you don’t really know where they are until you’re right next to them. Standing in the middle you can look up and see nothing but white, down and you can’t see your feet and all around is more whiteness with the occasional darker patch that is a person making their way around. From the outside you look in to the whiteness and watch for shapes, people appearing and disappearing, fading away. Hands will suddenly appear reaching out for the a surface that the person knows but doesn’t know is there. After a short/long time wandering the mist we found the door and emerged in a waft of mist to the normal world once more. Both of use had a light coating of water all over, creating spider patterns in Keryn’s hair and appearing as a halo of bright dots on my shorter cut. It was very relaxing, if perplexing.
The other major installation consists of 31 cast bodies standing on the London horizon and visible from the three viewing galleries at the Hayward. Titled Event Horizon it brings a bit of mystery to the view and once you’ve seen one of the still bodies in the distance you quickly start looking for them all. Only one is actually approachable, a silent man standing on the Waterloo Bridge. I guess people walking from work are used to him now as there was a complete lack of interest from most passers by.
We spent about an hour at the Hayward looking at the various works, leaving as the days closure was announced. We then walked over the road to the National Theatre to have a closer look at another piece of art called FlyTower conceived by Heather Ackroyd and Dan Harvey. The artists, who have covered a number of different objects and buildings in grass, have planted two sides of the Lyttelton Theatre’s fly tower in a carpet of grass that will grow and then wither away. One of Antony Gormley’s Event Horizon men also sits on top of the tower.
An Antony Gormley cast-man on the Waterloo Bridge