Light at the Hayward Gallery

I have had a thought provoking day, filled with gorgeous art and good conversation.

I went to an exhibition which I would not normally have considered going to. I thought it looked cool, but art to me (despite trying to wean myself off the idea) has always been paintings. These light installations were art. Pure and simple. My reactions to them, and witnessing other peoples’ reactions, made them incredible.

There were four that really spoke to me. I’m going to write about some of them here (maybe more than the four)

The first is the one you see as you enter the exhibit. LEDs raining down in columns, reflecting off of things and off each other. Ever changing patterns, emulating snowfall and fireflies, fireworks and spaceships. It was mesmerising and beautiful.

The second was a room completely dark save for a concentrated beam of light. This started as a ring, but would change shape. They had done something to the air in the room so you could see the light. It looked like you could touch it, if you put your hand in it, it created glorious patterns and became this truly interactive piece. I was wearing a large ring filled with sparkly “diamonds”. Upon placing this through the beam, the room lit up with tiny little rainbows and caused a gasping reaction from the others in the room. I loved this because it was interactive, I could have stayed in that room for a really long time, just experimenting with how the light worked, and what different things would do to it. I would have paid the £11 for this room alone.

The third looked remarkably like a telephone box. My friend named it the “Tardis” for reasons you will come to understand. From the outside it looked like that, two doors. People outside could see in, and could see the lights in the floor and the ceiling, but it was impossible to tell what the people inside were seeing. I almost don’t want to spoil it, it’s worth queueing for.

Once inside you can’t really see out, all the surfaces are reflective. The ceiling and floor have lights around the edge as I have said, but due to a very clever optical illusion these appear to go on forever. You feel like you are going to fall down, but then you look up and feel like you’re going to fall that way.

The fourth, was incredibly clever but made me feel ill. It was a small room with a metal meshed box in the middle. This had a light in it that was moving. It created a very strong pattern on the wall of hexagons. As the light moved it made you feel like you were moving, even if you were standing still. If you moved it felt a hundred times worse. The direct effect of the art is something which I loved. I’m the kind of person who would cry at a painting so I love things that really have an effect. These pieces were no different.

Honourable mention goes to the strobe room, which had various kinds of running water. These all looked frozen because of the strobe (although the strobe did make me feel quite sick!) The colour room was beautiful too. There was a weird reflected lightbulb that I’m still trying to get my head around.

All in all, I would say this was one of the best exhibitions I have been to. I never expected to enjoy it as much as I did, but I felt so happy in the beam of light room that I surprised myself.

We did pop along to the National Gallery afterwards to see my favourite painting (Rousseau’s tiger) and saw some interesting eggs in Covent Garden.

Covent Garden Egg with Thomas the Tank Engine

I love London, and especially enjoyed seeing the biggest pillow fight ever in Trafalgar Square.

Trafalgar Square Pillow Fight

Food was at Bill’s (yes, two visits! It’s that good) and a Ben’s cookie was obviously on the agenda.

I think being open to art is so important, and I really want to start doing more things, instead of being a consumer. I’ve been watching too much television, and been too distracted by being passive. I think I have my online reading sorted now, it’s just a case of keeping a routine going.