Space Shifters – Pondering the Notion of Reflection

Discover Shape Shifters, the Hayward Gallery’s celebratory exhibition featuring top international artists. Read about the interactive experiences viewers can expect from this world-exhibition.

A Strikingly Delightful Exhibition of Shapes and Space at the Hayward

The Hayward Gallery’s 50th anniversary came to an exciting end with the opening of Space Shifters, a striking exhibition highlighting the building’s salient architectural features. Senior Curator Dr. Cliff Lauson and his team compiled the works of prominent artists from around the world to create a technically impressive, aesthetically pleasing, and playful exhibition, bringing together a series of interconnected installations and sculptures.

Featured artists include Fred Eversley, De Wain Valentine, Monika Sosnowska, Charlotte Posenenske, Josiah McElheny, John McCracken, Alicja Kwade, Anish Kapoor, Robert Irwin, Larry Bell, Jeppe Hein, Daniel Steegmann Mangrané, Richard Wilson, Roni Horn, Leonor Antunes, Yayoi Kusama, Fred Sandback, Helen Pashgian and Felix Gonzalez-Torres.

Space Warp

Jeppe Hein’s appropriately-named piece, 360° Illusion V (2018), is a massive rotating mirror sculpture that overlooks the first gallery at the entrance to the exhibition. The work creates inverted reflections of the people viewing the display while also reflecting the gallery’s austere architecture. Anish Kapoor’s Non-Object (Door) (2008) is a space-bending creation directly opposite Hein’s installation. It warps and distorts the areas around viewers who are further startled by Interactions of the Abstract Body (2012), an installation by Josiah McElheny. McElheny’s installation consists of stationary sculptures scattered around the exhibition space and dancers wearing mirrored wooden costumes who interact with the works and the visitors in continuous performance.

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Playfully Disorienting

As visitors ascend to the second gallery, they encounter more interactive artwork with WeltenLinie (2017), a piece by Alicja Kwade making its second appearance internationally. Viewers are encouraged to walk through and around the piece’s frame structure where they discover mutating objects – a wooden tree trunk is duplicated on a smaller scale in luminous silver and a grey rock turns rusted metal in colour.

Playing with Light and Space to Shift Perception

Many works at the show can be associated with a movement started in the 1960s in Los Angeles where several American artists experimented with the use of innovative processes and materials to depict light and space. Fred Eversley chose to shift optical perceptions by creating coloured lenses through which viewers can take a different look at the world. Larry Bell also used light and space to alter perception with Standing Walls (1969/2016). Viewers may enter this installation to see both their own reflection and the multiple reflections and effects within the sculpture.

Other works at the show allow viewers to see both into and through solid sculpture. Pioneering artist De Wain Valentine used resin to craft massive translucent sculptures, such as Gray Column (1975 – 1976), which weighs a monumental 1.5 tonnes and is making its UK debut here. Robert Irwin’s Untitled (Acrylic Column) (1968 – 2011) is hardly perceptible though it stands more than 4.5 metres tall in the upper section of the Hayward.

This truly unique exhibition will be featured until January 6, 2019. If you are looking for art that will make you gasp, this dramatic display exploring our perception of objects, space, and those around us will be right up your alley, or perhaps, your gallery.

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